On Saturday, in an interview with the newspaper L’Equipe, Tony Parker donned his costume as president and owner of Asvel to regret the lack of government support for basketball in particular and sport in general, put in great difficulty by the crisis sanitary. Words that provoked a firm reaction from the Minister of Sports. Traveling to Pau, for the Canoeing World Cup, Roxana Maracineanu replied that the government would not let down the players in French sport. Before having this Monday a “constructive” exchange with the minister at the end of the day, Tony Parker justified his concern.
Have you followed the reactions provoked by your cry of alarm and in particular that of the Minister of Sports?
TONY PARKER. Of course, but let it be Roxana ( Editor’s note: Maracineanu ) or me, we both want the same thing: to find solutions for the good of French sport as a whole (Editor’s note: they had a telephone exchange this Monday evening after our interview). I also know that Jean-Michel Blanquer (Editor’s note: Minister of Education who oversees sports) got in touch with the president of the basketball federation so that we could discuss. Things are going to happen. My goal is not to create controversy but to make the government aware of our real problems. Clubs need clarification and certainty.
What are your demands?
I am stepping up because I have the impression that some do not realize the situation and the needs of French sport. When you see the amounts announced, you really have the feeling of not being taken seriously. We are talking about an envelope of 110 million euros for all sport, it is already that, but it will not be enough to save amateur and professional sport. It’s too little compared to the 2 billion that are mentioned for Culture (Editor’s note: announced by the Minister of Culture in the recovery plan).
Do you want to play intermediaries?
I’m not asking for anything. I have always been very proud to represent my country and my goal is simply to save French sport. We are living through one of the greatest crises in history and I just want to help my country. I am a positive person who tries to move the lines, unite people and inspire them, but here I am very, very worried about sport in France.
And for basketball in particular?
If nothing changes, some clubs will go out of business. In basketball, budgets are all built around ticketing and partners. With Monaco and Boulogne-Levallois, we agreed to play a month behind closed doors, but if we go beyond it is the death of our sport. We suspect that the government must manage many complex files, but the objective is to find solutions together.
Do you regret having agreed to play games behind closed doors?
No, it’s important to continue to keep our sport alive, to be on TV, to have exposure, to keep in touch with all our fans. We must continue to live. But the reality is that if we don’t have the right aids, we will die. Playing for a month was the right solution.
Does Asvel’s business model put you in particular difficulty?
For several years, clubs have been asked not to rely too much on subsidies to develop a virtuous model with private partners. This is what we have put in place and it is for this reason that we are more impacted. But I have no regrets, I think it’s the future.
You live much of the year in the United States. What does the election of Joe Biden represent for you?
I am really happy for the United States. I see the country is happy.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr