This time, the battle is launched. After some initial skirmishes last year, Florian Grill, candidate against Bernard Laporte at the head of the French Rugby Federation, and his running mates had started their campaign in early 2020 before having to retreat, confinement required. But in recent days, they have gone back to the assault. Led by prestigious generals: Serge Blanco, Fabien Pelous, Jean-Claude Skrela, Éric Champ, Abdelatif Benazzi. So many former internationals rallied to Florian Grill, the president of the Île-de-France Regional League, and his right-hand man, Clermontois Jean-Marc Lhermet.
"This allows him to use the means of the Federation to meet the clubs"Florian Grill
To conquer the headquarters of the FFR, in Marcoussis, they know they will take blows. Bernard Laporte, who has not yet officially declared himself ("this allows him to use the means of the Federation to meet the clubs", squeaks Grill), and his followers who have accompanied him since the time of Béglaise - Serge Simon , Sébastien Conchy or Christophe Reigt - are determined to retain power. And do not hesitate to mock the headliners of the camp opposite. Which are not intimidated and harassed on three sides: the state of finances, the fall of licensees and the authoritarianism of the team in place.
A battle of numbers
They also criticize the management of the crisis by current governance. Bernard Laporte's team quickly made available to overdue amateur clubs a war chest of 35 million euros. Without consulting the opposition to the steering committee (Grill, Blanco, Pelous). A sum partially deducted (€ 20 million) from the imposing insurance fund (€ 59 million) of the FFR intended for the seriously injured. If the cause is right, Grill castigated this puncture. And fears a weakened financial situation. He claims that the cumulative operating deficit is 10 million euros, that the cash flow has doubled in three and a half years. Figures refuted by the treasurer of the FFR, Alexandre Martinez, who swears that the financial situation is healthy, the operating deficit at the margin.
A battle of figures to rally to its cause as many as possible of the 2,000 club presidents who will vote… either on October 3, as initially planned, or next spring if the opposition wins its request for postponement due to campaign truncated by the epidemic. A request approved by the Minister of Sports, but without constraint of application for the moment.
In our columns, Abdelatif Benazzi (51) carries the iron in his turn. And takes out the big artillery. Front challenge, as when he wore the jersey of the XV of France (78 selections between 1990 and 2001). Sharing the conviction of Florian Grill and his supporters: “We have the project to win. "