French sports practice at half mast

It was the time of great hopes, of rich reflections on “the world after”. Containment helping, France discovered a desire to run on the tarmac of cities, to perfect his abs in apartment. A sudden conversion to essential physical activity? The promoters of healthy sport applauded the change. And fingers crossed: as long as it lasts.

→ INVESTIGATION. The enthusiasm for home sports quickly waned

It didn’t last. The latest edition of the sport and health barometer, carried out for ten years by Ipsos on behalf of the French Federation of Physical Education and Voluntary Gymnastics (FFEPGV), has just been published and underlines it: the sporting practice of the French is at half-mast. Last year, 66% of them declared an activity of at least one hour per week. They were 81% in 2020. And 61% also claim to have a more sedentary lifestyle than before the health crisis.

Back to “the world before”

“We find almost the figures for 2019, notes Marilyne Colombo, the president of the FFEPGV. Jogging exploded during confinement, and people also discovered online sport, but they mostly lacked the social bond linked to a practice in a club or indoor. With the second confinement and the massive use of telework, physical activity at home has waned, the craze has fallen. “

Thierry Doll, president of the France Active union, which represents more than a third of the 4,500 sports halls in the country, notes for his part that the obstacles to the practice were not lacking in 2021: “We were only able to reopen in June after eight months of closure, then the health pass limited the recovery, and since the fall, the arrival of the Omicron variant has maintained an anxiety-provoking climate which is slowing down the return of our customers. Since the start of the September school year, we have seen a 35% drop in attendance. The atmosphere is leaden and everything is complicated. “

→ READ. The modest advances in prescription sport

Undoubtedly we should not be too delusional about a boosted practice in 2020. “Behaviors change over the long term and not in three months, notes Martine Duclos, head of the sports medicine service at Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital and president of the National Observatory for physical activity and sedentary lifestyle (Onaps). But we can still welcome a change in habits on active travel, with a 25% increase in the use of cycling or walking, which people do not necessarily consider a sport. Wrongly. And perhaps we need to change our discourse, avoiding an additional injunction in this period which counts a lot: it is not a question of summoning people to take up intensive sport, just of explaining the benefits of half-hour daily activity. “

The ravages of sitting time

All studies repeat it: twelve hours of sitting time on average per day for adults is too much. “We are faced with this problem of sedentary lifestyle as we were faced with global warming ten years ago: too many people are still unaware of it, insists Professor François Carré, cardiologist in the sports medicine service of the Rennes University Hospital. So we have to repeat it: walking ten minutes three times a day or walking up floors should become as automatic as brushing your teeth. At the start of the year, we can see as always that the first good resolution of the French is to get back to sport. Awesome! But this often remains wishful thinking, and it is not what is required! We just need to move more, especially among young people. “

→ MAINTENANCE.“Sitting too long is not good for your health”

Here again, the studies are formal. The latest Onaps survey in 2021 reveals that confinements have drastically reduced the physical activity of children. “Two-thirds of children in primary school are below the recommended health thresholds in this area”, Martine Duclos is alarmed. “There are 2% of diabetics under the age of 18 more each year, insists François Carré. And being too sedentary at college age increases the risk of heart attack in your thirties. “

Cardiologists from the Georges-Pompidou European Hospital recently published a letter on the sudden death of children under 30 in Île-de-France. And the first cause is myocardial infarction. “It is time to put in place a real prevention policy which is unfortunately not in our culture, concludes Martine Duclos. Our health care system is at the end of its rope, and this is also an important economic issue. For Paris 2024, the Organizing Committee has taken up this subject. I hope actions will follow. “


A subject of debate for the presidential election?

This is the dearest wish of Professor François Carré, tireless activist in health sport. “For the time being, I do not see any candidates tackling this subject which is nevertheless a major public health problem. And overall, we cannot say that the public authorities really put the emphasis on preventing sedentary lifestyle. Do you see campaigns equivalent to the fight against tobacco? Alas! no. The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, and Tony Estanguet, President of Paris 2024, have launched the “30 minutes of daily physical activity at school” elementary campaign. Very good, but it is limited to voluntary schools! There is still a long way to go. “



Frédérique Bangué, sporting soul

” Mom, you won lots of medals, so i would like to win some too! ” When she heard her daughter Victoria innocently utter these words, in the spring of 2017, Frédérique Bangué was taken aback: “I had no idea what to say to him!” “, confides the one who is then convinced to be “A bad mother”. At the origin of a deep questioning, this episode is also the starting point of the adventure that she carries today at arm’s length: her magazine Salto, a free monthly magazine filled with educational, psychological and scientific advice that helps parents guide their children in their sport. Because this experience “Wonderfulfor some, disastrous for others ”, was for her “The school of life”.

→ INVESTIGATION. “We need to set up a framework without stifling passion”: child-athletes, parents in the second line

Born in Lyon but raised in Annecy, Frédérique Bangué was a free and curious child but not very sociable. “I think I can say that I was lucky not to experience discrimination, but I had a hard time making friends! “, confides this woman, become particularly smiling and talkative. The little girl builds her world between basketball courts, tennis courts and dance halls, “Where I was fulfilled, even if I was really not good!” “, she blurted out laughing. In the fall of 1991, dragged by a friend who abandoned her at the last moment, she accidentally landed on an athletics track. Frédérique Bangué is all alone, but the physique is good and the mind is ready: “ In a few weeks, I found myself at the departmental, then regional and, finally, national championships. “

“Respect, solidarity, discipline and perseverance”

Ten years later, the teenager has become an international athlete with multiple titles, selections and “Success”, a word she has only managed to pronounce for a few months. This period of a “Extreme requirement” has always been associated, however, with values ​​dear to its heart: “Respect, solidarity, discipline and perseverance”. Her early retirement at 25 does not prevent her, moreover, from giving herself a new goal: an excellent client at the microphone and in front of the journalists’ cameras, she also studied communication in a Parisian school and went on internships in the world of media, of which it is ” fallen in love “. By knocking on doors and increasing the number of calls, she will end up multi-hat – consultant, producer, host – within large groups like Canal + or M6.

After the birth of her daughter, she has to opt temporarily for food work “Exciting but impractical”. At almost 40 years old, in 2016, the former athlete who became a single mother “The feeling of having to start all over again”. She finally found the strength, with two partners, to carry out an ambitious project that brought together her passions and her skills. Recently greeted by the Minister of Sports, Salto magazine now running thanks to around forty people – journalists, graphic designers, photographers, volunteers or service providers – enough to give new meaning to his life but not yet win it.

For this, Frédérique Bangué gives courses in Paris and conferences all over France, especially in the Annecy region, “Where I am also an opposition municipal councilor! “, she explains between two toast of jam. Just cured of breast cancer, she adds up the radiotherapy sessions and slowly recovers: “I happened to be at the bottom of the hole, but I always knew I would get something positive out of it! And she has just found love again.

“When you believe in God, it’s easier! “

For her, courage has become an instinct for survival: “It must be said that it is quite natural when you work in very, very masculine environments”, she believes. It is also on the theme of “Courage of women” that she will speak, Friday, November 19, at the Interviews of Valpré, in Écully, near Lyon (1).

→ MAINTENANCE. Sport: “Between the child and his trainer, a very strong relationship”

“When you believe in God, it’s easier! “, adds the one who, as a teenager, used to go to places of worship and burn candles, “Especially during competitions”, she remembers fondly. She was baptized at the age of 30, following a catechumenate ” exciting “.

→ READ.“Tamié saved me”

“Je believe that part of me is in my hands and the other is not! “, explains Frédérique Bangué. She recently walked part of the Camino de Santiago and made a silent retreat at Tamié Abbey. Doctors who tended to define it as agitated ” now find her appeased. ” And like Salto is a project of the heart, it always goes like me! “


His inspirations – Nelson Mandela, Elon Musk, Jean-Jacques Goldman …

I have always admired the men and women who manage to unite around their project, despite the obstacles, in order to make things happen or create new ones, for society, for culture, for science… I naturally think of people like Nelson Mandela, who rose to the head of a country where apartheid reigned, but I can also be interested in paths like that of Elon Musk and his technological innovations which fascinated the world, or that of Jean-Jacques Goldman, whose compositions have always thrilled millions of people. When I undertake something, I try to draw inspiration and energy from this story, both past and present: in my eyes, it proves that humanity wants to survive and that gives faith in it! “



Covid-19: the sports movement suspended from government aid

Operation demining. The meeting around Emmanuel Macron, at the end of the morning on Tuesday, November 17, of part of the government and about twenty players in the sports world was not on the agenda of the Elysee. But the Head of State was invited at the last minute in a case that was beginning to weigh visibly too much for the Minister Delegate Roxana Maracineanu and her boss in charge of national education and sports, Jean-Michel Blanquer.

Because the tone continues to rise in a sports sector which is increasingly sounding the alarm bells in the face of the pandemic. Monday 16, the leaders of the professional leagues of handball, basketball, volleyball, as well as the president of the French Federation of ice hockey took the pen to hammer out that, without the cumulative support of their partners, the fans but especially the authorities, many of their clubs “Will not rise again” of this period which forced them behind closed doors, with losses already estimated in total at more than 40 million euros.

→ DEBATE. Covid-19: is the defense council taking up too much space?

For rugby alone, the French Federation points at half-mast revenues of at least 34 million, and the National League estimates at 180 million euros the shortfall of a half-season without spectators.

A sporting movement at bay

Amateur sport is also at bay. The first results of a survey carried out by the National Olympic Committee among its clubs reveal the loss of 1.6 million members, or 20% of the workforce. Thus 260 million euros in contributions would have gone, to which we would have to add more than 110 million of side losses (partnership, refreshments, lottery, etc.).

For private gyms, “In November, we reached 1.2 billion euros in lost revenue, which is almost half of 2019 revenue, recalls Thierry Doll, the president of the France Active union which brings them together. In the coming months 20 to 30% of theaters are likely to close. Finally, we need visibility, and above all that we be trusted for a resumption of activity. “

Lack of confidence, of consideration, the remark often returns among the actors of the sports movement. Unloved? Far from it, we swear to the ministry, ensuring that the entire sector has already benefited from around 4 billion euros in aid, mainly through the financing of short-time working. Also highlighted, the recovery plan of 120 million euros announced in early September.

Except that it is set up for two years, in 2021 and 2022, and that these envelopes do little to respond to the emergency: 50 million for the energy transition of sports equipment, 40 million for job creation in the associative sector and 30 million to clubs and federations, including 9 million reserved for digital development.

Appreciated announcements

So more was needed. “We first appreciated the unprecedented listening of the President, the Prime Minister and four ministers, declares Virgile Caillet, the general delegate of the Union sport et cycle which represents the commercial sector of sporting leisure, present at the meeting of nearly two and a half hours. It was very important to hear them say that sport was a major issue for them for the whole of society. But we still have to work to follow through on all the promises made. “

For professional sport, no big announcements, except the confirmation of the release, after the European green light, of the compensation fund for ticket office losses of 107 million euros, and the exemption of charges for October, November and December, an envelope of 105 million euros.

For amateur sport, the big deal is the creation of a “sport pass”, helping families to help re-enroll young people in clubs. (read below). An emergency fund of 15 million euros for clubs really in danger should also be created, as an aid to federations, but without precise figures for the time being. The sports halls remain more in the dark, but with the hope of a resumption of activity in January.

Nothing revolutionary? “We were leaving from afar, nuance Denis Masseglia, the president of the Cnosf. We needed to be heard, it’s done. We are better equipped to face the difficulties that await us. We can see a little light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. “ The mine clearance operation went rather well.


A “sport pass” for young people

It should be launched in 2021 and it is ” A very good news “, according to the president of the French National Olympic Committee Denis Masseglia: the Élysée has announced the creation of a “sport pass”, a help to families with a total cost of 100 million euros, in order to encourage young people to register or re-register in a sports club. “It was a priority for us”, welcomes Denis Masseglia, who hopes that the device will become sustainable, and that it will make it possible to compensate for the losses of licensees due to the coronavirus. Young people who can also find
the path of the grounds, a progressive opening to the practice for minors being desired from the month of December, with adapted health protocols.



When the camera spoils the sporting spectacle

Sometimes the stadium announcer still cries out to make people believe that. That everything is normal, that the stands are already vibrating, that the meeting promises to be exceptional. But a few minutes of retransmission are enough to dampen the feigned enthusiasm. In deserted enclosures due to closed doors required by the measures against the coronavirus, a match of football, rugby, handball, tennis sounds desperately hollow and looks very bad on television. And all the attempts to enrich the business with recorded soundtracks to remind the public’s presence can not help.

A degraded and demonetized spectacle

“We really take the measure with the closed door imposed by this confinement: the presence of spectators is an integral part of the sporting spectacle., underlines Jean-Pascal Gayant, professor of economics at the University of Le Mans. Without them, the show is less attractive, less authentic, arouses fewer emotions. And everyone can measure its degradation. Does he find himself demonetized? Probably a little. And the longer it lasts, the more this value can drop ”.

Should we therefore fear an imbalance in the sports economy which relies heavily on television broadcasting rights? “In a worst-case scenario, with months behind closed doors, probably, judge Christophe Lepetit, economist at the Center for Sports Law and Economics (Cdes) in Limoges. The watered-down ambience really affects the quality of the product. In the medium term, a Champions League, tennis Grand Slams, Olympic Games without an audience cannot sell themselves so dearly to sponsors and the media ”.

Put the supporters back at the center of the game

However, the commercial dimension is not the only one to be taken into account. “We must also make the link between the show and the practice, and there, the social issue is not small, assures the sociologist Ludovic Lestrellin, teacher-researcher at the University of Caen and specialist in supporterism. A degraded sports spectacle, it may be tomorrow less practitioners. The very people who come to the stadiums. It’s a vicious circle “. By proposing only in camera, do we not risk participating in the disaffection of the public once the normal situation is restored? “For the moment, in football in particular, a solid base exists on which to rest to repopulate the stands, even if the supporters’ associations are questioning their ability to regain their numbers before the pandemic., continues Ludovic Lestrellin. For a more volatile public, no doubt that a long-term work of reconquest will however be necessary “.

A more positive outcome cannot be excluded, however. “We can hope that the role of supporters proving to be essential, the leaders of the sport will take them more into account, believes Christophe Lepetit. The sports spectacle is organized by a sports movement in a monopoly situation or almost. We need more concerted governance in the future, and start thinking about it today ”. Obviously, all the players in sport hardly seem to be concerned about the future, stunned by the weight of the present and economic difficulties.

A virtual future?

“It’s a shame, because being behind closed doors prompts us to reflect on the deep nature of the sporting spectacle: can we imagine it losing its ties with equipment, a territory, people? wonders historian Marion Fontaine, teacher-researcher at the University of Avignon. Are we heading towards an increasingly virtual spectacle? Certain events practically act on this principle. The World Cup in 2022 in Qatar is unlikely to draw crowds. “

Formula 1 has for a while looked at pay-per-view broadcasts, allowing viewers to choose their viewing angles. Technology is still holding back plans for such massive releases, but others are riding the same hobbyhorse for the future. Like the ISL private swimming league, which imagines cameras underwater, on each lane, for total personalization of the broadcast. Sporting reality like a video game or almost. So what good is the supporter?

“I do not believe in a total disenchantment for the sports spectacle, even damaged by the camera, says Jean-Pascal Gayant. On the other hand, it is possible that this accelerates the decline of certain sports, like swimming or athletics, who are already struggling to adapt to changes in tastes and practices, especially among the youngest. “ If the in camera had at least one virtue, it would be that of shaking up the acquired situations, and of forcing to question a sporting spectacle without major evolution these last thirty years.

“Without really comparing, we can establish common points between the pandemic and the war, concludes Marion Fontaine. Most people operate with the idea that this is an exceptional situation, so they adjust while waiting for something to return to normal. Except that there is no guarantee that the world after is exactly the same as the world before. The sports model has developed like others on very speculative logic and the idea of ​​permanent progress. Except that here, we will have to see if people will have the desire and the means to return to the stadiums. Difficult to know today what will be the collective wills. But we can bet that the lines will move. “



No need for a medical certificate for the sport of minors

This was not the most discussed point of the bill “of acceleration and simplification of public action” (ASAP) voted in first reading in the National Assembly on Tuesday October 6, and which aims above all to “Liberate the French and businesses”, if we are to believe Guillaume Kasbarian, deputy La République en Marche of Eure-et-Loir and rapporteur for the text. Article 37, which modifies the sports code, however, introduces a real change for tens of thousands of parents, and by extension, doctors.

→ READ. Coronavirus: GPs overheated

It stipulates that the famous medical certificates required for sports are no longer compulsory for minors. From now on, “The obtaining or the renewal of a license allowing or not to participate in the competitions organized by a sports federation, is subject to the attestation of the completion of a questionnaire relating to the state of health of the minor athlete, carried out jointly by the minor and by persons exercising parental authority “, provides the text.

“Free up medical time for doctors”

The process is therefore declarative, for a double objective: “Making life easier for parents and freeing up medical time for doctors, explains Guillaume Kasbarian. The minors must make twenty obligatory visits in front of the doctors in their course, it was useless to add more “. However, exceptions remain for high-risk sports such as diving, boxing or rugby. For adults, the production of a medical certificate remains compulsory. MEPs did not vote on an amendment wishing to delete it.

An evolution welcomed by Paul Delamarche, professor emeritus at the University of Rennes 2 and specialist in health sport: “It is a measure of common sense, he comments. Young people free from pathology do not need to renew a medical certificate every year as was the case. And the fact is that this clogs up the medical offices, especially during the re-entry period, and especially in rural areas ”. Sports federations and clubs also appreciate the simplification. In this period of pandemic, anything that can facilitate the arrival of new licensees is welcome.



Covid-19: closed rooms and gymnasiums, a severe impact on the sports world

The representatives of the sports halls did not flinch. The new health rules announced by the government require, among other things, the closure of this equipment in enhanced alert zones since Monday, September 28. And the measure does not pass.

→ READ. Covid-19: Paris on “maximum alert”, bars will have to close

The professionals of the sector were certainly received, Tuesday, September 29, in Matignon. They also heard the same day the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, answering questions from deputies to the National Assembly, promise them that this closure would only affect “In the shortest possible time” and that they can count on a “Compensation and economic support”. “But if there is a listening, the trend is not for all that to relax the measures, regrets Virgile Caillet, general delegate of Union Sport & Cycle, which brings together professionals in the sports sector. We were on a positive dynamic, and now these closures have broken the recovery. It is not an injury over just 15 days, but over six months or a year. “

Losses estimated at 40%

The FranceActive union, which brings together nearly 1,700 theaters out of some 4,500 in France, notes the negative consequences on the economic level: “50% of our members are closed. Disaffection also affects green areas because all this arouses distrust of users, deplores its president, Thierry Doll. A room manager called me this morning to tell me that he had 17 cancellations in his mail! We already estimate our losses at 40% compared to last year. “

The profession argues the investments made to put in place protocols securing the practice and the low circulation of the virus in the rooms, even if Santé Publique France mentions “sports, recreational and leisure activities” as responsible for around 210 of the 1 246 clusters listed as of September 30. “On the one hand, we encourage the French to play sports for their health while ensuring that we must learn to live with the virus, and on the other hand we are prevented from working”, storm Thierry Doll. The sling in any case rises. FranceActive and some cinemas have initiated summary proceedings before the administrative courts, with varying results depending on the territory. Some do not hesitate to defy the ban. “And actions, sometimes symbolic, are being prepared for this weekend”, warns Virgile Caillet.

Bleeding of licensees in clubs

The closures do not only affect private rooms. Gyms and municipal halls are also concerned, which affects clubs in many disciplines. “We lost 6,000 licensees on the first wave, and maybe 10,000 on the second, says Denis Odjo, the president of the French Taekwondo Federation. Almost all of our competitions are canceled. Parents are necessarily cautious ”.

→ EXPLANATION. The coronavirus weakens sports associations

Similar tumble on the side of the French Table Tennis Federation. “Last spring, the haemorrhage affected 20,000 licensees. There, compared to 2019, we lost 11.5% of licensees last week, 13% this week, account the president Christian Palierne. So we adapt, depending on the departments, closures or not, even in green areas where elected officials prefer to open the umbrella by sometimes closing rooms without obligation. It’s a crazy situation. “

Some disciplines seem to be doing well. Fencing for example, which communicated with a playful tone about its habit of wearing the mask. “We limit the breakage, assures Serge Aubailly, the general secretary of the French Federation. Security is our know-how and we manage with the coronavirus an additional security, with a distance which in our sport undoubtedly secures parents. Concerning the clubs, in some regions, however, there is concern, especially because of the uncertainty. “

→ PRACTICAL. Activities canceled by the Covid, should I request reimbursement?

This affects all areas. President of the French Federation of Rural Sport and of the Haute-Garonne Departmental Olympic Committee, Brigitte Linder measures it every day: “We receive dozens of calls from clubs trying to understand prefectural directives. But they are so complex, and ever-changing, that informing is a puzzle. People are lost. So everything is paralyzed. And the worst is perhaps to come with a major economic risk by the end of the year for the employees of the sports movement. “


Contradictory decisions

The FranceActive union and certain theaters such as the Keepcool franchise network (260 theaters) have filed around fifteen appeals across France against the prefectural decrees imposing the closure until October 10. The first two decisions fell, Wednesday, September 30, in Nice and Bordeaux and the judges of the administrative courts dismissed the sports halls.

→ READ. Covid-19: sports halls are fighting against their closure in Paris, Rennes and Bordeaux

Contrary decision on the other hand in Rennes, Thursday 1er October: there, the judge ordered the suspension of the execution of the order of the prefect of Ille-et-Vilaine, considering that“In the state of the data and information submitted to the court, private sports halls could not be regarded as places of active propagation of the Covid-19 virus”. In Rennes Métropole, the incidence rate of Covid is however 155.56 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, higher than Bordeaux, where it is 140 per 100,000 inhabitants. In Paris, the administrative court asked the police headquarters to review its closure order by Monday, October 5, and to provide details. Until then, the capital’s sports establishments remain closed but can therefore hope to reopen from Tuesday, October 6.