A 40-year-old page turned last Saturday in the District of Val-de-Marne. Thierry Mercier announced that he was not running for the head of the departmental body (which he had headed for 16 years) and gave way to Denis Turck, the president of the Maisons-Alfort club, elected with 84% votes. The outgoing leader has other ambitions since he is running (again) for the presidency of the Ligue de Paris Ile-de-France, whose elections are scheduled for December 19. Widely beaten (68% against 32%) four years ago by Jamel Sandjak, Thierry Mercier, 74, is this time convinced to win. He explains to us the main thrusts of his program.
Four years after your defeat, are you animated by a spirit of revenge?
THIERRY MERCIER. Absolutely not, it’s not in my culture. Me, I am faithful to my ideas and I have an ambition. Unlike last time, instead of having had four weeks to prepare my project, we’ve been working on it for months.
What percentage of chance of winning do you give yourself?
(Affirmative) We will win ! The League today is 3 people. A president, a vice-president and a director, period. To put it simply, my project can be summed up in three axes: ambition, trust and above all transparency. All is said…
What has changed over the past four years in your program that could lead you to victory?
I want to make the Ligue de Paris the leading league in the world in terms of training. 30% of professional footballers come from Ile-de-France. It’s pretty much the same as in Sao Paulo, Brazil. My program is geared towards young people, but for that it is necessary to give them the means. Football animation represents 50% of licensees. This is football tomorrow … In a club, the best educator should not be that of the first team but that of the football school.
“The regional technical center of Morfondé does not live”
President Jamel Sandjak has great successes to his credit, such as the creation of the regional “mini-Clairefontaine” of Morfondé in 2017 …
Me, I am not the man of the balance sheet but of the project. Yes, Morfondé was a good idea and I actually voted for it. After 22 ha, it is heavy to carry … I would simply point out that no changing room has been created, that the classrooms are not heated, the referees have also stepped up to the plate on this. This center does not live. A resident club should be permanently installed there.
The clubs continue to refuse young people for lack of structures. How to do ?
The clubs are at the center of our project. They are the pillars of Ile-de-France football. Yes, they are structurally and financially struggling, but the team in place is hiding behind the fact that there has been no increase in the price of licenses. For the reception, we, in the 1st suburb of Paris, we cannot push the walls. I say to the clubs: make a waiting list. In Vincennes, they have nearly 500 kids waiting, in Maisons-Alfort 250.
President Sandjak saved 2.5 M € and donated 4.5 M € to small clubs. Isn’t that positive?
It is not so simple. Take arbitration. There were 40 clubs in breach of the refereeing statute two years ago, today there are 133! For the Ligue de Paris, all these fines are a financial jackpot and I don’t want that.
How to help clubs and their 275,000 licensees to apprehend the pandemic due to Covid-19?
In Val-de-Marne, I created a Covid cell made up of two mayors, one on the right and one on the left (Bonneuil and Plessis-Trévise), a president, a social assistance, an accountant because the clubs are in panic, a lawyer. We are interested in clubs.
“Our kids are the apple of our eyes”
The last few months have been marked by cases of sexual violence in sport and in particular in Ile-de-France football linked to educators. How to fight against that?
It’s in our program. I say to the clubs: be careful, if you take an educator who has been pointed out by any matter, you are responsible. If you don’t report, you are accomplices. It’s intolerable, our kids and our kids are the apple of our eye. We should not hide behind the skills of this or that educator.
What personalities do you have on your list?
I cannot reveal everything today because the lists must be submitted by November 11 at the latest. But Abdel Djaadaoui (former head of training in Le Havre then in Sochaux) for the technical part and Alain Frey (Red Star doctor) for the medical follow me.
French football needs renewal. Can your age be a handicap?
No. I have the experience of my youth and every Sunday, I continue to play with the elders of a small club of 20 licensees.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr