Move around, there is (almost) nothing to see.
Jean-Michel Blanquer and Roxana Maracineanu whistled the end of recess and the return to the field for the XV of France, shaken by the series of Covid contaminations of 12 players and 5 members of the staff.
This Friday morning, the Minister of National Education and the Minister for Sports received the President of the French Rugby Federation Bernard Laporte.
A meeting of a good half hour to, in the process, clear the FFR in this cluster affair.
"The sanitary protocol has been respected," assured Jean-Michel Blanquer, thus publicly supporting Bernard Laporte.
The FFR had ordered a report from Professor Roger Salamon, who ensures that the contamination came from a rugby sevens player who had shared training with the XV of France.
For the rest, namely the, or even the exits of the coach Fabien Galthié from the Marcoussis bubble, or that of the players in Rome to eat a waffle, they were in accordance with the health protocol, according to the federation.
VIDEO. Health crisis of the XV of France: "Nobody broke the protocol", assures Bernard Laporte
Health crisis of the XV of France: "Nobody broke the protocol", assures Bernard Laporte
A conclusion publicly validated by the ministers.
However, behind the scenes, the exchanges have apparently been a little more tense.
Whether Thursday, during the meeting between the services, or Friday morning, between the two ministers and the president of the FFR.
At the ministry, we did not necessarily taste the outings of Bernard Laporte on the subject of "this bubble which was not one".
"In private, things have been said," says one in the entourage of Roxana Maracineanu.
Which had little appreciated the reversals in the communication of the FFR.
"Patient zero has changed three times," she wondered on BFM last Friday, before ordering the federation to provide a report.
Behind the facade of unanimity displayed this Friday morning, in the ministries, we recognize that there were weaknesses in the protocol.
And the best proof that all was not perfect is that this famous protocol will still be reinforced.
"You are never too vigilant", insisted Jean-Michel Blanquer, who evokes a "well-developed" protocol even if "we can always better tighten the stitches".
"No more leaving the hotel, it's belt and suspenders"
The FFR promises to unveil by Sunday, the date of the return of the players to Marcoussis, the details of this new protocol, which will in any case ban the exits of players and staff.
"Now, no more leaving the hotel: it's belt and suspenders," assured Bernard Laporte, using the expression of Jean-Michel Blanquer.
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In addition, concerning the entry of external players to participate in training, as had been the case with the players of the VII, there is no longer any question of taking risks.
"If there are partners, they will be young immuno-Covid
(Editor's note: who had the virus)
, as was the case the last week," said Bernard Laporte.
Another new measure: the promotion of Raphaël Ibanez, current manager of the XV of France, who will be in charge of monitoring this new protocol, with the support of a state executive appointed by the national technical director Didier Retière.
What about Serge Simon?
The vice-president of the FFR remains the “Covid Manager” of the XV of France, assures the federation.
But without saying more about its exact role and the responsibility of the one who had notably stated that "patient zero is known, it is our physical trainer".
An image to restore
These measures aim to end the controversy, and to turn the page as quickly as possible.
The stake is not only health.
“In terms of image, we have to show that we are exemplary, even more than what we have been,” admitted Bernard Laporte.
The beautiful image of XV de France young and victorious for the first time in 10 years in Ireland (15-13), on February 14, quickly gave way to this not very glorious soap opera of Marcoussis' bubblegate.
"It started very well, we want it to continue very well," admits Jean-Michel Blanquer.
"The players who will come back have been a little cooled by what happened, everyone will have to regain confidence and this France team will set off again in a positive dynamic", notes Roxana Maracineanu.
Because the perspective behind is the 2023 World Cup in France, and, before, a Tournament to be completed with first the Crunch in Twickenham against England on March 13.
The 31 players selected to prepare for this shock are expected in Marcoussis this Sunday evening.