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Florian Grill: "Let the FFR Steering Committee wake up from the nightmare they are causing French rugby to live through..."


INTERVIEW – The president of Ovale Ensemble is at the head of the opposition to the Laporte clan. He forcefully explains to Le Figaro why he resigned. And appeals to the responsibility of the elected officials of the former president of the Federation to obtain general elections.



 this collective resignation from the Steering Committee of the nine elected members of the opposition


Florian GRILL:

For two very clear reasons.

The first is that we could not accept, not condone the referendum being thrown in the trash.

We give the floor to the clubs, the results are not suitable, so we take them away.

It is a denial of democracy.

The second is to avoid falling into the trap set, with an interim president until the end of June and then an election of the president alone.

With the possibility of finding themselves in cohabitation at the time of the World Cup with a president responsible for inaugurating the chrysanthemums and a steering committee against him.

This is the absurd scheme in which they wanted to lock us up to keep their place.

I don't want that for French rugby.

It wouldn't do him any favors.

But you leave their hands completely free by leaving the Steering Committee.

Not at all.

I am president of the Ile-de-France League.

As such, I am invited to the Steering Committee of the FFR.

So I can continue to report.

Anyway, with 9 elected out of 40, our votes did not count.

What matters is to be able to continue to hear what is going on there.

We do not disappear from the Steering Committee.

Read alsoAbdelatif Benazzi: "Laporte in withdrawal, that does not mean the end of his policy"

But you disappear from the electoral process since the president must necessarily come from the Steering Committee…


But I am not aiming for the presidency.

I don't need that to exist.

They call me very opportunistic and very ambitious.

If I was, I would have stayed to be president.

But that's not what interests me.

What interests me is having the levers to set up a program, ideas.

To change things in amateur rugby which is suffering in the villages and which needs to be supported.

Which is not possible with an opposing Steering Committee.

"I make no deal, no governance agreement, with the elected members of the Laporte team."

For you, Laporte resigned, but Laporte is still there via his team?

He was already back.

He's definitely not there anymore.

But, in rugby, you win and you lose as a team.

Logically, we therefore need a new president but also a new team to go with it.

And then, it must be recognized that, without Bernard Laporte, whose charisma is obvious, most of the members of the Steering Committee would not have been elected.

It would therefore have been to their credit not to let go and to resign at the same time as him.

But they are in their ivory tower.

They have not understood that by defending their particular interests, they are not defending the general interest.

What levers do you have to obtain these general elections?

May the Steering Committee wake up from this nightmare they are making us live by organizing quick elections, which would take place right after the Six Nations Tournament.

There are no other levers… I make no deal, no governance agreement, with the elected members of the Laporte team.

A petition, or even a rebellion, of amateur clubs could be another way?

Rebellion no, it's not really the spirit of rugby.

A petition why not.

There are many clubs that are angry.

What is very annoying is to change the rules of the game during the match.

If, from the start, they had opted for this solution of appointing an interim president, there would have been nothing to say.

But there, they take the option of a referendum and, as the result does not suit them, they decide to do otherwise.

It's shocking.

The clubs, which have come together to make a decision, are bitter.

They have the impression that the result of this referendum has been stolen from them.

90% of the clubs participated and 51%, despite the FFR apparatus put to use - including the phone calls of a so-called president in withdrawal - voted against.

In 2020, when I

“They have alienated the state.

Politically, it's not smart.

This is an affront to the minister's recommendations."

But if a majority of amateur clubs ask for the resignation of the management committee...


He interrupts

) No.

Because the statutes are very protective for the governance in place.

To obtain a removal from the Steering Committee, three criteria must be met.

The first, that a third of the clubs representing a third of the votes request the convening of a General Assembly.

It is technically feasible.

Second criterion, it is necessary that 51% of the clubs request the removal of the Steering Committee.

It's doable too, we feel capable of achieving it.

The third and final criterion is that there must be 66% of the clubs present or physically represented.

But the clubs have other things to do.

The Steering Committee knows very well that this is almost impossible.

These clauses are very protective to avoid risks of instability.

There is also the hypothesis of seven resignations in the Laporte camp to drop below twenty members and provoke elections...

It's actually the only feasible way.

That there are only 19 members left on the Steering Committee.

But, for that, the condition is that the elected officials open their eyes, that they understand that they are not up to the task by their blocking attitude.

That they are doing a disservice to French rugby.

And they're not doing themselves a favor either.

Because it will be difficult for them to manage the Federation without legitimacy, in this self-segregation... So they put their mandates on the line and may the best win!

If they are so proud of their record, let them defend it in front of the clubs.

Maybe they will win.

We don't say ''it's sure, Ovale Ensemble will win''.

We simply want a general election so that people can choose a new president and the

How serious do you think the situation is?

The elected officials of the Laporte team have alienated the National Rugby League.

But the professional clubs are still the employers of our internationals.

They also alienated the state.

When we prepare a World Cup which would not exist without the State, which has given its financial guarantee, which will organize all the security of the event.

The state which pays around thirty state executives to the FFR, which was there financially during the Covid crisis.

The State, which is therefore more than a partner, that a federal elected representative takes the liberty of saying that the opinion of a minister, we don't care... Politically, it's not clever, it's a real mistake.

The FFR needs to work hand in hand with the State.

This is an affront to the minister's recommendations.

“I appeal to the rational responsibility of each individual.

What else can I do?

We are not going to take the Bastille…”

The Minister shares your position.

But, concretely, how can it weigh?

She can not.

The minister was very clear.

As a sparring partner, she formulated Friday to the Steering Committee what seemed to her reasonable and respectful of the vote of the clubs.

But she can't impose anything.

It is the elected members of the Steering Committee, with regard to a fundamental issue for French rugby, to be aware of their responsibility.

The men are just passing through.

They cannot prioritize their personal interests over the best interests of rugby.

From the country itself.

Because all the media spotlight will be on our country during the World Cup.

We have to be up to it.

If these elected officials remain totally inflexible, it is very sad for rugby…

Elected officials are taking a tough stance.

Appealing to their sense of responsibility, isn't that wishful thinking?

Maybe, but what else can I do?

We're not going to take the Bastille.

Therefore, I appeal to the rational responsibility of each individual.

After… Will Patrick Buisson or Alexandre Martinez, whom I consider to be rational, take over?

And what is the real cohesion of this team?

Because, in reality, it is Serge Simon and Christian Dullin who pull the strings, helped by Laurent Gabbanini.

Which bothers me even more, because the general manager of the FFR, paid 100% by the clubs, should show him an exemplary neutrality.

It is shocking that he invests so much…

But the risk is real of having to wait until 2024 for the clubs to finally be able to vote...

It's a risk of course.

But what worries me in the short term is how do you secure the World Cup with such troubled relations with the state?

How do we get out of this zone of turbulence into which the Laporte team has thrown us all?

There is, however, a simple solution: elections within six weeks.

All it takes is for the Steering Committee to finally open its eyes and let the clubs decide.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-01-31

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