Rugby: “We were forced to take ridiculous and dangerous measures!” Why are 4 fed-up club presidents calling on the French Federation?

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Clubs Fleurance, Lannemezan and Valence d’Agen, participating in the 2023/2024 season in the Nationale 2 (4th division), followed in the footsteps of Auch, who raised the alarm about the cost of travel for a “badly born championship”. By sending an alarming, salty and controversial letter to the FFR.

“If you continue on this path rugby will quickly become diseased or concentrated in major cities, thus diverting from its fundamental role as mass sport and the education of our young people.” At the end of the long complaint letter sent to the French Rugby Federation and the clubs Auch, Fleurance, Valence-d’Agen and Lannemezan, All residents of section 4expressing themselves in the following words: “condemned the very important, even crazy charges imposed on the construction of pools for the National 2 championships and now the National Espoirs championships, the travel of the M14 Super fight to Limoges, Clermont. Ferrand, etc. immediately without knowing the Alamercery student chickens, Crabos youths before…”

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This is due to the financing of long-term travel, which has become heavier and can no longer be supported by budgets in the lower range of category (1): “We inherited a pool with the Rhône valley and PACA at the beginning of the 2023-2024 season (Aubenas, Rumilly, Villeurbanne, Dijon, Macon, La Seyne and others)” describes his letter.

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“After the National Hopes pool, the FFR forces us to go out of time again (Villeurbanne, Dijon, Aubenas, Rumilly, La Seyne…) Getting to Rumilly, Dijon or Macon takes about 10 hours one way, returning around 10 in the morning. This is Saturday It involves leaving in the morning (…), returning home from 5am to 6pm on Monday morning.There is a very, very large majority of players, managers and very active staff in our clubs, so it is not possible to go to work on Monday.This leads to requests for leave. The cost of a single journey is around 6,000€ to 7,500€ without exceeding. We are forced to take ridiculous and dangerous precautions, such as leaving in the morning. We complete the journey by train or bus, wanting to play in clubs with adequate lighting around 6.30 or 7pm, then heading in the opposite direction. By leaving our players in nature all night to save the hotel, the appointment is made at 6 o’clock. I will take the first train in the morning.”

This shows that discontent is growing to the point of seeking solutions that we “don’t dare think about”; such as “withdraw twice to comply with the rules and above all save 14 to 15,000 euros”.

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It’s a depressing observation, as Auscitain president Bernard Salam explains: “Everything is going well at the sporting level, but the problem is these trips, which also encourage outside fans not to come, because we must not forget that we have no income.” from television rights. The solution is many more regional pools.”

For Lannemezan’s Philippe Bérot, this is clear; himself why “Graulhet is in the west pool and we are in the east pool” and why “the pools are known fifteen days before the start of the competition, while the forecast budget has already been recorded” and at the last moment we discover that an additional envelope worth € 45,000 was found!

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This is therefore a thorny issue for the FFR of Florian Grill, Bernard Laporte’s successor as president, for whom “the example of SC Pamiers (overall package, Editor’s note) will be followed by many other examples, if you decide” stated. “Do not interfere.”

(1) Lannemezan €650,000; Fleurance €950,000; Valence d’Agen €1.1 million; That is 1.3 million Euros.

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