This time there will be no scandal. Two years after a trip to Rome to attend the XV of France match which had sparked a great controversy in the middle of the Covid-19 episode (based on an unrespected health bubble and a mask worn randomly), Bernard Laporte will be a little quieter on Sunday , for the first match of the Blues in the Six Nations Tournament in Italy. Far from the eternal city, far from Fabien Galthié and his players, far from responsibilities. Far from it all, in fact.
But the now former president of the French Rugby Federation, who announced his resignation on Friday, will still remain, a little, in the minds of French players. “Bernard is a character that we all appreciate within the group, recognized Thibaud Flament on Saturday at a press conference. We are waiting to see what will happen. “The international second line of Stade Toulousain is a bit like everyone else: in uncertainty.
Where is “unity and unity”?
Because, since the appointment of Patrick Buisson, replacement designated by Bernard Laporte at the head of the FFR, was rejected by a majority of amateur clubs on Thursday – which led to the resignation of the former Stade Français coach and Toulon –, the federation went into intensive care. When he left, Bernie had indeed called, in a message published on his Facebook account, for “the unity and the rallying of French rugby”, but it is obviously quite the opposite that is happening.
The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castera, may have wished, in the process, “the resignation of the steering committee”, nothing happened. If the nine members of the opposition as well as the two representatives of the National Rugby League (LNR) have returned their aprons, the supporters of the former president of the FFR still occupy their position. And don’t give up. “Not at all”, thus asserted the secretary general of the FFR, Christian Dullin, on France Bleu, Monday, when he was asked if the steering committee was going to resign. Before explaining:
The decision that was taken on Friday morning was the decision of one man, the president. Since the beginning of this affair, we have scrupulously followed the texts and regulations, the statutes of the Federation, we have followed all the recommendations of the ethics and professional conduct commission. (…) The contradictory side of the minister is that she tells us “Bravo, thank you, but you have to leave”, there is a small inconsistency at this level. »
“The steering committee must no longer cling to the branches”
Speaking of “texts and regulations”, it should be noted that those close to Bernard Laporte have decided to follow article 21 of the statutes, which provides for the appointment of an interim president, rather than 15 which would have allowed in the event of a general resignation of elect a new steering committee after six weeks. On Wednesday, the federal office will thus propose that there remains of the steering committee an interim president, who will be validated on Friday. This new president will exercise his functions until the next general assembly, scheduled for June, where the clubs would be called – finally – to elect a new president. Not even six months from the World Cup in France.
Admit that the timing is not ideal, said the Minister of Sports on Sunday in an interview with Midi Olympique. And until then I do not see how the steering committee can steer the Federation with all the necessary foundation, with several resigners, no more counter-powers and in the background a consultation of the clubs which has just been negative. »
The decision of the steering committee to remain in place is incomprehensible for Alain Carré, president of US Colomiers and of the UCPR (Union of Professional Rugby Clubs), joined by 20 Minutes: “At some point, everything has to stop, this is no longer possible. The steering committee should no longer cling to the branches. Today, we have to wipe the slate clean, we have to hold elections, real elections to move on. There, it takes too long. All pro clubs are in the same position. »
“Responsible and proud people”
Florian Grill, head of the opposition list, who has therefore left the steering committee, is also campaigning for new elections: “I think it’s totally untenable [de ne pas démissionner]. It is an affront to the minister, who has clearly mentioned her preference for a general election. We are on time to organize a real election that will calm rugby, organize the World Cup in the best conditions and preserve our Blues. »
Because, while all these beautiful people are bickering, it is the organization of French rugby that could suffer. Christian Dullin believes that, if the steering committee had resigned, “there would not have been an election for six weeks. And for six weeks, what do we do? There is a World Cup to prepare, a Six Nations Tournament and, every weekend, there are 1,900 amateur clubs playing. And that’s also one of the reasons why we didn’t resign, because we take on our tasks. We are responsible and proud people. »
The sportsman in the background
For his part, Alain Carré believes that, as it stands, the work with the FFR is complicated: “Despite the resignation of the two representatives of the LNR, they say that the discussions continue, that there is nothing to break at this level, but it seems difficult to me. We can still wonder what the NRL and Federation relations will be. That things continue to move forward for the world of rugby, perhaps, but when you know that the interlocutor you have on the phone would have liked you to put your mandate back on the table, that’s for sure not can’t go well. »
The manager of Colomiers hopes “quickly to move on to something else in the interest of French rugby. Friday, we will win away, everything is fine. But, with partners, I’m told twenty seconds about the match and then it’s just business. Our hopefuls put 50 points at Stade Français, but instead of telling me “It’s great what we just did”, we’re going to talk to me about that… It’s no longer good. “A victory of the XV of France in Italy, Sunday, will not forget all that either.
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