“My conception of things is that sport is essential for our nation, for our young people, our health and our life in society,” says Emmanuel Macron. We have been forced to take tough measures, given the health context, which does not mean that we underestimate sport. “
At the end of two and a half hours of discussions with sports players, which we were able to exceptionally attend, the President of the Republic reaffirms his attachment to French sport. The latter, shaken by the crisis (according to a recent study by the French Olympic Committee, the clubs show an average drop in their licensees of 30% and loss of revenue estimated at 400,000 euros), has continued to do so. months of alerting the Head of State and the government through open letters and forums.
Tuesday, at the end of the morning, Emmanuel Macron, surrounded by the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, and several ministers, took the time to discuss during an unprecedented videoconference. With specific challenges: to give visibility to amateur and professional players and to support them in the crisis. “We must not lose the thread of sports practice, and on the contrary succeed in finding the tools of recovery”, insisted the president.
Resumption of sporting activity, economic difficulties of amateur and professional clubs, shortfall in ticketing, suffering and incomprehension of volunteers, financial difficulties of sports halls… No subject is evaded during the various interventions.
“The implementation on the ground is difficult”
“We see in this meeting a message of consideration and hope,” said Denis Masseglia, president of the French Olympic committee. We are suffering, we are devastated by the impossibility of fulfilling our mission of leading young people to become citizens. “
Marie-Amélie Le Fur, President of the Paralympic Committee, for her part, masterfully defends the cause of the 12 million people with disabilities. “Currently, practicing a physical activity in a club when you are disabled is allowed, but the reality on the ground is quite different,” she explains. Implementation in the field is difficult, the relationship with medico-social establishments is complicated by the health protocols which are contradictory. “
The interventions follow one another. Reality sometimes hurts. “Local authorities are cutting budgets, private sponsors no longer respect their commitments as they are impacted by the economic crisis, our 2020 balance sheet will reach less than 600,000 euros”, details Nathalie Péchalat, president of the Ice Sports Federation.
“Sport is a solution box”
His rugby counterpart, Bernard Laporte, recalls “the energy deployed by volunteers to enforce health protocols during deconfinement”. Efforts “destroyed” by the reconfinement. “We are no longer club presidents, we have become beggars! », Says Olivier Ginon, president of Lou Rugby.
“Sport is a solution box,” says five-time Olympic biathlon champion Martin Fourcade. “We can play sports now, but not amateurs, not the champions of tomorrow,” insists pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie. “Actions in neighborhoods and in favor of women’s sport are being undermined”, insists Sarah Ourahmoune.
The proposals follow one another: awareness campaign, creation of a “sport pass”, abandonment of the gauges of 1000 or 5000 people… Emmanuel Macron notes, intervenes. And details measures, strong and concrete. So that sport is no longer the big forgotten of the current crisis. And so that the hope of a sporting recovery is reborn. Even if the return to normal will take “long months”, admitted the president.
The Mediapro affair was at the heart of the discussions, when Jean-Pierre Caillot, the president of the Reims club, asked the head of state for help to settle the conflict with the TV rights holder of French football. .
Emmanuel Macron’s response was rather scathing. “We know the macroeconomic importance of this contract. I’ll tell you frankly, it’s a crazy contract. We had warned the League. We knew that this contract was fragile. I think the people who negotiated it were not serious. We are all put in an impossible situation. As always when we think that there are wonderful situations that exist. “
And the president continued: “We will all stand together to find a solution. I think that there are enough historical actors to find an intelligent solution between the partners, but I will be demanding so that the State is not the substitute of private interests, with the money of the taxpayer. We will put the pressure on the players as it should, we will not let French football fall into the mistakes of what this contract had shown. We will be there, but by being demanding with the actors. I cannot speak to you more frankly. “
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr