It is a cry from the heart.
A cry of alarm that 95 federations and the French Olympic movement (CNOSF) have just pushed in the direction of the President of the Republic this Monday evening.
In a letter addressed directly to the Head of State, they are no longer addressed to their supervisory minister, the former swimmer Roxana Maracineanu or even to Prime Minister Jean Castex but to Emmanuel Macron in person.
Among the signatories of this open letter, some of the most prestigious and emblematic federations such as football, rugby, handball, judo, tennis or athletics.
In the mail, they do not go all the way denouncing the situation in which the French “federated sport” finds itself strongly shaken and weakened by the epidemic crisis of Covid-19.
The federations say they are "distraught to note that the federated sport sector, with its unique social and economic model, bearer of values essential to the republican social fabric, does not clearly count in our country's priorities for action in times of crisis. ".
Professional and amateur competitions at a standstill, closing of sports halls despite large investments to adapt to health rules, there are many complaints.
“For several months, we have been doing everything possible to adapt to the vagaries and to the multiple divergent and sometimes contradictory applications of health doctrine in the field […] Despite these efforts, our competitions and scheduled or rescheduled events have been canceled, often at the last minute and due to excessive and unjustified application of health measures by local authorities ”, the signatories denounce in their letter.
In the collimator of the authors of the letter, appear the very fluctuating gauges imposed by the authorities in football or rugby stadiums when it is simply not the camera or their lowering at the last minute as at the tennis tournament of Roland-Garros where only 1000 spectators were finally authorized.
SOS: Sport in distress!
On behalf of the French Sports Movement, 95 sports federations are sending an open letter to the President of the Republic, @EmmanuelMacron: https://t.co/wDFz4VDY3U.
- France Olympique (@FranceOlympique) October 26, 2020
"There are no figures proving contamination inside clubs"
In an interview with the daily Le Monde last weekend, the president of the CNOSF, Denis Masseglia, considered that the argument put forward by the Ministry of Health concerning sports halls and gymnasiums, major vectors of contamination according to him , was wrong.
"There are no figures proving contamination inside clubs," he said.
"You will therefore understand the incomprehension which is ours to undergo a stigmatization as violent as unfounded, because not supported by objective elements", continue this time the authors of the letter.
Clubs and their federations are also worried about an already significant drop in the number of their licensees, estimated on average at 25% compared to last year.
A decline synonymous with loss of revenue.
“We are already deploring more than a quarter of fewer memberships, to the point that many clubs are now wondering if they will be able to make it through the year because more than 80% of them, only run by volunteers, pillars of amateur sport, are still excluded today from the aid measures provided for in the support plan piloted by the Ministry of the Economy ”, continue the signatories.
A climate of mistrust between the minister and the federations
The letter-writing process in the form of an SOS is part of a climate of mistrust.
A mistrust fueled by statements made in full confinement and at the height of the epidemic outbreak by Minister Roxana Maracineanu then affirming "sport was not a priority in our society".
Even if she then explained her words while struggling to set up recovery protocols, the former champion had struggled to rally the sports movement behind her as one man.
It is not insignificant that the latter uses the term "priority" in his open letter to stigmatize a situation that has lasted too long.
At the risk for the French sport of appearing above ground while professions also have a very difficult time in the period such as the restaurant or hotel sectors.
While the situation on the epidemic front is noticeably getting worse and new restrictions could come into force, the French sport is worried.
"We must therefore live with (the virus) as long as it has not been defeated but we do not want to disappear before it", plead the signatories.
They remind us above all that in four years, in 2024, France will host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.