Amateur football: in Créteil, bring the cup back to the neighborhood

An amateur tournament, a family reunion that – at times – looks like daycare, or a weekend with neighbors discussing football? The National Neighborhoods Cup passes for an unidentified football object. Whatever its contours, the event returns in June to Créteil (Val-de-Marne), where it was created three years ago in a slightly different form, before being available everywhere in France. The principle: bring together players from different districts of the same city according to their family origin, and organize a tournament between these “national” teams.

Propelled by social networks, the first edition was immediately transformed into a popular phenomenon, the same which spreads an unusual buzz around the Duvauchelle stadium, Saturday June 18. The troops come to survey the edge of the synthetic field which is leaned against it, Moroccan, Malian, Congolese and West Indian jerseys on the back, that is to say those of the first teams concerned by the quarter-finals. And a soundtrack is responsible for attracting the rest of the curious not yet familiar with the initiative.

Break with inter-district tournaments

Despite the 38°C reading, several hundred of them came to “greet a friend”, “see a former student again” Where “juggle a few balls while enjoying the atmosphere”. Coming to support Morocco, for which he had lifted the cup in 2019 against Tunisia, Rhimou Lahcel sees it above all as an opportunity to give “a good image of the suburbs. Some play for countries other than their parents’. It opens the minds of people, and it shows that everyone can make the neighborhood live ”, poses this thirty-year-old employee at the town hall of Créteil.

“The initial idea was to do something different from the traditional tournaments which often pit neighborhoods against each other, explains Moussa Sow, employee at the Red Cross and founder of the event, rejecting communitarianism. There, we bring together several neighborhoods in the same team. »

The most athletic mingle with classmates or parents with “discovered the tournament the same day”, proof that there is “than football, which brings together so many”, believes George, of Indian origin, having played as a child with Sammy Traoré, the Malian coach and former defender of Paris-Saint-Germain, who is this year among the ex-professionals who joined the event. If Karim Benzema or the Algerian Riyad Mahrez have sent their support, others have squarely put on their crampons, like the Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the same tournament organized at Le Mans.

Talent nest

They sometimes rub it on an unsuspected level, enhanced by hopes in search of exhibition. That evening, the performance of the Moroccan goalkeeper will not have escaped the eyes of the recruiters of the English and Spanish championships, “present from knockout matches”, slips Moussa Sow. He could follow the example of his eldest in the cages, Sami Tlemcani, titled in 2019 and since attracted by Paris FC before signing for Chelsea.

Positioned a few meters from the players, the crowd is ready to jump at the slightest incursion into the opposing camp, while each goal is synonymous with an invasion of the field. ” VSwas well tried, but the referee saw the fault”, “tactics took over this match”, “I like this number 18” : a trio of speakers comment on each action. On a last free kick at the end of extra time, it was finally Mali that qualified for the semi-finals, after a match that revived the golden goal rule.

Khalid El Hamdaoui, player from Morocco, does not regret his trip, he who preferred Créteil to the cup organized in his 18th arrondissement of Paris: “Like all French people, we have origins, so it’s also a little something to play for the country of your parents. » He joins the veteran of the team, who ends on the kneecaps, to watch the penalty shootout, won by Congo, in the other match. “Make room for the cameras”, repeats the organization, while a team of filming from Amazon is preparing a documentary. She will return for two major premieres: the women’s matches and the July 2 final, broadcast on Prime Video, the Ligue 1 broadcaster.


Street football recovered by sponsors?

In proportion to the showcase it offers to street football, the National Neighborhoods Cup is attracting more and more sponsors. Nike was chosen to design the jerseys. If observers can see in it a form of recovery or even denaturation, the founder of the event, Moussa Sow, regards it as a “coup de com’ accepted, offering better visibility on social networks, where the tournament was born”. And to recall the presence “coherent” local partners.



Coupe de France: FC Nantes wins against Nice in the final

Twenty-one years that the Canaries have been waiting for this moment. FC Nantes pocketed its fourth Coupe de France on Saturday May 7 at the expense of Nice (1-0). A penalty from captain Ludovic Blas (47th) offered a deserved coronation to the Nantes players, who also won the match from the atmosphere in the stands, thanks to their noisy supporters.

The party is total for the Nantes, who have been waiting for a trophy since 2001, the year of their coronation in Division 1. Fireworks lit up the sky of Saint-Denis after they lifted the trophy. “I don’t have the words to describe it. We did it “rejoiced striker Randal Kolo Muani, at the microphone of France 2. “We’re going to celebrate together, it’s been 20 years, it’s just wonderful for the people of Nantes”added defender Nicolas Pallois, on Eurosport.

Nantes finds Europe

This success rewards the work of coach Antoine Kombouaré, a former home player between 1983 and 1990, who took over in February 2021 a team on the verge of relegation in a period of great tension between ultras and club management.

“We come from nowhere. We could die and finish in Ligue 2 last year. There, we will play the Europa League and soon the Champions Trophy. You can imagine the gap, it’s hard to believe it. It is something exceptional, unique, almost miraculous for us”said the technician.

The Kanak took more risks, too, as with the daring combination at the start of the second period which led to the penalty whistled by Stéphanie Frappart, the first woman to referee a Coupe de France final.

→ PORTRAIT. Football: Stéphanie Frappart, the referee who hides the desert

Nantes will play in the group stage of the Europa League next season. The club has not played in the European Cup since 2004, and a short appearance in the Intertoto Cup, which has now disappeared.

“Great disappointment” for Nice

Nice, which wanted to offer its British owner Ineos its first title since the takeover in 2019, could join the Nantes thanks to the Championship, if they finish in the top 5.

But there will remain the bitter taste of this missed final, a “great disappointment” for coach Christophe Galtier who regrets that his players have “missed a lot of technical relationships in attack. »

This feeling will last all the more since the opportunity was good without Paris SG, double defending champion, who had participated in all the finals since 2014, and which the Niçois had eliminated in the 8th.

13 seconds, 4 passes

The first 45 minutes, closed, justified the adage that, in these meetings, only victory is beautiful. But the combination of the Canaries, at the start of the second half, was not bad either. In thirteen seconds and four assists, they surprised the best defense in Ligue 1.

Quentin Merlin’s handover was deflected out of hand by Hicham Boudaoui, causing a mezza voce clamor from the Nantes turn, as the supporters did not all find their seats. But everyone was there to celebrate the penalty turned into a force by Ludovic Blas, the captain with five goals in six Coupe de France matches this season.

Coupe de France: FC Nantes wins against Nice in the final

The yellow and green wave was not far from engulfing a Nice team struck by this start of a nightmare, but Pedro Chirivella (48th) and Moses Simon (58th) missed the 2-0.

Amine Gouiri harangued the Nice stand, urging him to make more noise, after a first foray into the surface of Alban Lafont (56th) which marked the decline of the tide.

The “Gym” took more risks, but Gouiri then Andy Delort came up against the Nantes goalkeeper, author of a superb double parade (70th). Despite this skirmish, the Azureans failed to ignite the end of the match, which ended under a huge clamor from the Nantes turn.



Angers, sectional view of a sports town

Effervescence on the ice. Since the beginning of the week, the Bleues du hockey have been playing sticks to regain their place among the best nations in their discipline. To do this, they must win the World D1A, the antechamber of the elite. The setting is ideal for achieving the feat: the Angers ice rink. A local pride, the flagship of the city’s recent equipment.

→ ANALYSIS. In France, ice hockey no longer wants to skate on missed opportunities

Roselyne Bienvenu, former sports assistant for the municipality, talks about the “liner” with still tremolos in the voice. It’s a bit like his baby, inaugurated in the fall of 2019, “an investment of 28 million euros which testifies to the excellence that the city seeks in sporting matters”sums up the elected official, now first vice-president of the Angers Loire Métropole urban community.

A mandate with 100 million euros of investments

An ambition claimed from 2014 in the wake of the election of the new mayor, Christophe Béchu. Roselyne Bienvenu very quickly launched the Estates General of Sport. “All the players in Angevin sport have played the gameshe says, and after nine months of gestation, we drafted the Angers sport 2020 project, which generated a real collective citizen dynamic. At the same time, we invested nearly 100 million euros in aging or missing equipment over the mandate, a huge effort. »

But a paying effort. The reputation of Angers “the sportswoman” is not usurped. In 2018, it was the first to win the maximum score (four laurels) from the “Active & Sports City” label, and it still appears in the dozen cities thus distinguished today. Since 2020, the new elected official for sports, former SCO Angers midfielder Charles Diers, has ensured the legacy with the Angers sport 2026 program.

“Good equipment is essential, especially for the elite, he explains. With the ice rink, for example, our professional club Ducs d’Angers, finalist of the last two Magnus Leagues, can better satisfy its partners and bring in more money, allowing us to reduce our subsidies to help other sectors. » On this mandate, the municipality intends to pay double attention to access to practices in working-class neighborhoods and to the structuring of clubs.

On the first file, it is in particular a question of finding answers to the strong demands of an autonomous practice, outside the stadium. the workoutfor muscle training, or pump trackfor pedaling on closed circuits, are trendy. “We are forced to leave the city football stadium, thinking about a positive occupation of public space, and also about the practice of women too often ignoredemphasizes Charles Diers. We really try to involve the inhabitants of the neighborhoods in the reflection. »

Clubs conquering working-class neighborhoods

A desire also shared by the clubs. Of all levels. Les Loups d’Angers, one of the city’s six professional clubs, French table tennis champion in 2021, will thus be able to move into a new gymnasium at the start of the 2022 school year in the working-class district of Monplaisir (14,000 inhabitants) in full renovation. “We want people to take ownership of the club, we will ask our private and public partners to buy places that we will distribute to the inhabitantsexplains the president of the Wolves, Gérard Sarazin. We will also support the practice of young people by offering snowshoes, licenses, etc., and by offering parents an agreement to accompany them. » On the side of SCO Angers Athletics, 217 licensees, the concern is the same. “Since the start of the school year, we have been working every Thursday in the schools of Monplaisir to introduce people to disciplines that the kids are not used to doing”, welcomes Frédéric Gagneux, president of the club.

But to do this work, you still have to have the means. And in the clubs, after the pandemic, resources are limited. “In neighborhoods that are getting poorer, some are reduced to doing daycare, or even disappearing, like two football clubs that closed in the Roseraie districtis alarmed Claude Cherré, the president of the municipal sports office, which federates 153 Angevin associations in 60 disciplines. We really have to react and help the clubs to structure themselves. »

This is Charles Diers’ other hobbyhorse. “We have some clubs with more than 600 licensees without any administrative staff. They must be helped to create such positions, which can quickly become self-financing by promoting the search for partners, and which also relieve the burden on volunteers. The classic 100% volunteer model is becoming less and less tenable. » This change, Frédéric Gagneux is well aware of it: “We have to reinvent ourselves, and indeed we are considering hiring to bring our operation closer to that of a business. The daddy’s club is over. » In Angers as elsewhere.


Les Bleues du hockey aim for the elite

At home, the Bleues du hockey play their future against the Norwegians this Saturday, April 30 in the final meeting of this World D1A, sold out in the Angers IceParc ice rink (3,500 spectators, a record). After two successes against Slovakia and the Netherlands, then a defeat against Austria on Thursday, if they end their week with a third victory in four games, they will reach the world elite in 2023, joining the top ten nations of their discipline.



FIFA World Cup 2022: France with Denmark and Tunisia in Group D

233 days from the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, the small emirate is focusing attention on the future competition which should take place from November 21 to December 18. While the distribution of the posters for the first round was eagerly awaited, the draw made at 6 p.m. this Friday, April 1 in Doha lifted the suspense.

► France face Denmark in Group D

The sentence has fallen: France, reigning world champion, will find Denmark of Christian Eriksen, semi-finalist of the last Euro, as well as Tunisia, in Group D. This draw turns out to be lenient, even if its eighth final could be tougher, with Argentina, Poland and Mexico as potential opponents.

→ EXPLANATION. World Cup 2022: what would be the worst and the best draw for the France team?

Denmark has often been the lucky charm of the Blues in major competition: at each of their major trophies, the Habs have crossed paths with the Danes on their way in the group stage, without ever losing (1-0 at Euro-1984, 2-1 at the 1998 World Cup, 3-0 at the Euro-2000, 0-0 at the 2018 World Cup)

► Qatar opens the ball against Ecuador in Group A

Qatar, the host country which is playing its first final phase of the World Cup, will open the ball against Ecuador, who have already competed four times, in Group A. Qatar will also have to face the African champion , Senegal, and the Netherlands.

► Iran and USA in the same group (B)

Iran and the United States, which have terrible diplomatic relations, are in the same group (B) as are England, Scotland, Ukraine and Wales.

Iran and the United States have already faced each other in the World Cup, in 1998 in France, and Iran won 2-1. During this meeting, the two teams posed together for a historic photo.

→ REREAD. The ball for the World Cup in Qatar is called Al Rihla

► Germany v Spain in Group E

Germany, placed in pot 2, despite having four world champion stars on the jersey, was the opponent that no one wanted among the top seeds. It was finally Spain who inherited it, for one of the flagship posters of the first round. Japan are also in Group E, along with New Zealand and Costa Rica.

► Brazil against Serbia in Group G

Brazil, record holder of victories with five trophies (the last 20 years ago), will have to be wary of Serbia of Dusan Vlahovic, who had beaten Portugal in qualifying, and Switzerland, in Group G.

Group C will consist of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland. Group H will be made up of Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea. In Group F, Belgium will face Croatia. The two countries have only faced each other in friendly or qualifying matches, never at the World Cup or the Euro. Canada and Morocco are also in this group. For now, only 29 of the 32 participating countries are known.



World Cup 2022: what would be the worst and the best draw for the France team?

France, the reigning world champion, is preparing to discover its first three opponents for the 2022 World Cup, which will take place in Qatar between November 21 and December 18. The draw for the group stages will take place in Doha on Friday April 1 at 6 p.m. French time.

How are hens made?

The draw method is as follows. The thirty-two qualified teams are divided into four hats, according to several criteria including their FIFA ranking. Here is their composition on April 1 in the morning.

For the first time this year, three participants have not been officially qualified for the FIFA World Cup. These teams will be known during the intercontinental play-off matches which will be played in mid-June. The country representing Asia will face that of South America, that of North and Central America will play against that of Oceania. In Europe, the ticket to Qatar will be contested between Scotland, Ukraine and Wales.

The best draw: Switzerland, Tunisia and Saudi Arabia

On paper, Switzerland is the weakest team in pot 2, along with the United States. But crossing the Nati at the next World Cup could be an opportunity for the Blues to take their revenge after the elimination in the round of 16 of Euro 2020 on penalties. Xherdan Shaqiri’s teammates haven’t shown great serenity in their last matches. Apart from two clear victories against Lithuania and Bulgaria, Switzerland remains on several draws (Northern Ireland, Italy twice, Kosovo) and a defeat against England.

→ READ. 2022 World Cup: the Blues, an exciting qualification before a long wait

Tunisia also struggled to convince, qualifying narrowly for the World Cup by a single goal in the play-offs against Mali. The Eagles of Carthage finished third in their group, however very weak, during the qualifying phases. Saudi Arabia for its part does not present a particular obstacle for the Blues, despite the recent arrival of Hervé Renard as coach.

The worst draw: Germany, Senegal and Ecuador

Germany is the scarecrow in the second hat. Eliminated from entry at Euro 2020, the Mannschaft changed coach after 14 years with Joachim Löw. Since the arrival of Hans-Dieter Flick from the Bayern Munich bench, the German team has not lost a single match, offering themselves several attacking cards (9-0 against Liechtenstein, 6-0 against Armenia, 4-0 against Iceland).

Senegal could also pose problems for the France team, thanks to a workforce made up of players playing in the biggest European clubs. Sadio Mané’s teammates (Liverpool) showed their solidity in their play-off against Mohamed Salah’s Egypt. Finally, the youth of Ecuador – who outclassed Colombia in qualifying – could also give Didier Deschamps’ team a hard time. The Tricolor compensates for its inexperience with the physical and technical qualities of its players.



Rugby: the XV of France launched towards its World Cup

“The World Cup, of course we think about it, but only from Monday”, explained Antoine Dupont at the microphone of France Télévisions after the victory against England (25-13), Saturday March 19. This success allowed France to win the Six Nations Tournament, achieving the tenth grand slam in its history.

→ ANALYSIS. Rugby, the pass of ten for the XV of France

The captain of the Blues thus claimed, in his own way, two days of respite before moving on to the story of this XV of France which will now have its mind turned towards September 8, 2023. The Blues will then face their best enemies. , the All Blacks, on the lawn of the Stade de France, for the opening match of the French world championship.

75% wins since the last World Cup

What will become of the heroes of the 2022 Tournament in a year and a half? Impossible to predict, even if some hopes are now allowed after this grand slam which will remain as a founding event. Like that of 2010, when the XV of France had won the five rounds of the Tournament, a year before the final of the 2011 World Cup, narrowly lost against the All Blacks (7-8).

→ REREAD. Rugby, France at a Grand Slam match

Are we on the same momentum as in 2010? Several factors suggest yes. The first one “arrow of time”, to use an expression dear to coach Fabien Galthié, was unchecked on Saturday. Already a few darts had found their target: the XV of France exceeded the ratio of 75% of victories since the last World Cup, it chained eight successes in a row and beat all the big nations. With the exception of South Africa, world number one ahead of France in the nations ranking, which they will face in a test match next fall, just to plant a new ” arrow “.

“A very disciplined rugby”

There are plenty of reasons to be optimistic for 2023. The coach Fabien Galthié has elements that have proven themselves in the history of collective sport: he knew how to shake up habits, by doing without players who seemed indisputable before. The indiscipline in the ground phases has disappeared and the XV of France is no longer bombarded with annoying penalties by the referees. “The big difference between this French team and that of two or three years ago is its great tactical discipline. They are developing a very disciplined rugby,” observed England coach Eddie Jones.

→ READ. Rugby: the XV of France, or the art of the lightning transition

The traditional dilettantism of French rears in defensive matters has also evaporated: wingers and other three-quarters have turned into ruthless tacklers. Individual talent is at the service of the group, which makes all the difference in a team sport.

But these different sporting elements are worth nothing without the factor… luck. And Fabien Galthié had the happiness (and the flair) to come across an exceptional generation. A good part of the guys who lifted the tournament trophy on Saturday evening were world champions under 20, in 2018 or 2019.

World class players

“World Under 20, Grand Slam, everything went so fast and strong”, claimed the second row Cameron Woki after the match, aware that the titles in junior often announce bright tomorrows in senior. “Today, we were around 26 years old and 24 selections on average. There’s no reason the team can’t keep improving.” wants to believe Fabien Galthié.

In all lines of the game, the XV of France has at least one world-class player playing in a top-flight club: Cyril Baille in the front row, Cameron Woki in second, Grégory Alldritt in third. Damian Penaud on the wing, Gaël Fickou in the middle. Without forgetting the famous hinge without which the door of the oval pantheon cannot open: Romain Ntamack, essential in number 10, and the incredible Antoine Dupont, number 9 and conductor.

→ PORTRAIT. Rugby: François Cros, the discreet essential of the XV of France

All major team sports formations are based on a group of excellent instrumentalists led by a genius soloist. Football had Zinedine Zidane in 1998 and now benefits from the talent of Kylian Mbappé; handball was worn by Nikola Karabatic and volleyball by Earvin Ngapeth. Antoine Dupont could be the captain capable of bringing his company to the top step in 2023.


A grand slam record in spectators and audience

Historic in the sporting history of the XV of France, the France-England of Saturday March 19 will remain as the match of other records. Put up for sale after the victory against the All Blacks last November (40-25), the 79,176 places at the Stade de France had found takers in a flash, this figure constituting a record in the current configuration of the enclosure. Fabien Galthié’s men have also been a hit on television. On average, 8.95 million French people were in front of their post on Saturday evening, with peaks at 10.5 million, a record broken for a tournament match.



African Cup of Nations: the crazy team of the Comoros

They are there and it’s amazing: the players of the Comoros, with the gratin of continental football for this African Cup of Nations in Cameroon, representing for the first time their small archipelago of 850,000 inhabitants, a real feat. Defeated by Gabon for their entry into the competition (1-0), they face Morocco this Friday, January 14 with the firm intention of showing that they are not “not here by chance”, insists their coach Amir Abdou.

→ REREAD. CAN 2022: figures of African football denounce the contempt of which the competition would be the victim

He knows well, the master at playing, what they went through to be able to jump into the big leagues. An incredible outfit combining determination, consistency, friendships and the fervor of an entire people. A rare story, written out of nothingness and with uncertain ink.

The incredible energy of coach Amir Abdou

Because what are the Comoros on the football planet, when the adventure begins in 2014? The microstate vaguely has a national team recognized by the International Federation (Fifa) only in 2005, and at the bottom of the hole in the early 2010s. Due to lack of money, the team cannot participate in the playoffs of the CAN 2013. For two years, the Comoros therefore disappear from the international circuit.

To rebuild on this nothing, the local Federation hopes to recruit Henri Stambouli, ex-trainer of Marseille in the 1990s. Except that the negotiations fall apart at the last moment. And so here is on the track the one who was to play the assistants, Amir Abdou. A former amateur player forced to put away his crampons due to injuries, the Franco-Comorian, who lives in the south-west of France, converted to an educator, and then coaches an honorary division team (sixth level national). At the same time, he exercises his profession as a territorial civil servant in the youth service of his small town of Bon-Encontre, near Agen (Lot-et-Garonne).

Amir Abdou therefore finds himself almost by default embarked on a project which he will completely take over, with mad energy. To rebuild the selection from A to Z, he is betting on the French diaspora and the very large community, established mainly in the Marseille region. It is still necessary to convince these dual nationals to try the adventure. But he knows how to find the words, and make the conquered troops stay.

Crazy proportions

The results help, the selection going from 193and at 127and world rank in three years. Corn “It’s a permanent fight”, says the coach. And with inevitably reduced means in one of the poorest countries in the world. He himself is only employed by the Federation from 2017. He must struggle to structure a framework worthy of players accustomed to European standing, even if it is that of the lower divisions. The Federation does not have an equipment supplier? A local brand is created, Maana Sport, which supplies free of charge, without a real contract.

And the case progresses, with ups and downs. On the archipelago, the enthusiasm for breeding is taking on crazy proportions. For the worse sometimes. During the CAN 2017 qualifying campaign, after missing the equalizing penalty against Uganda, the players left the stadium under stones. “Hell, summarizes Amir Abdou in an interview with the Bal des productions press agency. But we hung on. »

So comes the best, often. On the second day of qualifying for the current CAN, the Comoros won, in their new Malouzini stadium in Moroni financed by Chinese capital, an unexpected 0-0 draw against the Egyptian giant. The crowd massed in the stands, filled to double the capacity of the enclosure, surges onto the lawn. The announcer screams to ask for the evacuation, arguing for a possible cancellation of the result. In less than three minutes, the supporters wisely resume their place in the stands!

popular fervor

Above all, we must not hinder the march of national heroes who will qualify a few months later, triggering incredible popular jubilation. The team pleases all the more that it does not crown any star. Bonus to the collective, with 17 players out of 28 playing in France. “This group is above all a family before being a football team”, underlined the sports director Djamal Mohamed before the start of the CAN. The subject is not overused.

And the team, which has reached maturity (28 years on average), hopes to establish itself in the landscape. After two years without an equipment supplier, a new Italian partner (Macron Sports) is at its side for four years, and a new federal management is thinking about a more sustainable development, allowing to convince even more dual nationals to join the “Cœlacanthes”, the nickname of the selection. They are there, and maybe for a long time.


The Gambia, the other novice

In 2019, Burundi, Mauritania and Madagascar discovered the event, with happiness for Madagascar which climbed for its first until the quarter-finals (eliminated by Tunisia 3-0). This year, alongside the Comoros, it is Gambia which also plays the novices. Like the Coelacanths, the Scorpions owe their qualification to the patient work of recruiting a workforce, of which 27 of the 28 players play abroad, entrusted since 2018 to Belgian technician Tom Saintfiet, a frequent traveler on the continent (passed through Namibia, Ethiopia, Malawi and Togo). Winner of the first match against Mauritania (1-0) this Wednesday, January 12, Gambia, 150and in the FIFA rankings, will have a lot to do to qualify against Mali (January 16) and Tunisia (January 20).



Incidents in football: the FFF hits hard, Paris FC and Lyon eliminated from the Coupe de France

The French Football Federation (FFF) hit hard on Monday, December 27, after the incidents in the stands that occurred during the 32e of the Coupe de France final between Paris FC and Lyon ten days ago. Thus, the two clubs are eliminated from the 2021-2022 edition, OL is suspended from the competition from 2022-2023 and the Lyon club will be deprived of its traveling supporters until the end of the season. .

→ READ. Incidents in football, towards new disciplinary sanctions

The disciplinary commission of the FFF wasted no time: after the hearings by videoconference in the morning, Monday, the sanctions fell by press release in the afternoon. ” The disciplinary commission of the French Football Federation retains the disciplinary responsibility of the two clubs in the incidents that occurred during this meeting “, She affirms in advance whereas the presidents of the two clubs returned the ball to each other since December 17th.

Paris FC and OL both lost matches ” by penalty », Which means that Nice, who was to face the winner of this duel, is already qualified for the 8es of the Coupe de France. Paris FC also receives a five-game suspension from its home ground, the Charléty stadium, and a fine of € 10,000.

The sanctions targeting OL are even heavier with ” the closure of the outside visitors area until the end of the 2021-2022 season “, L1 matches included,” the exclusion from competition of the Coupe de France, accompanied by the suspension, from the 2022-2023 edition », A fine of € 52,000 and reimbursement of costs linked to the repair of damaged seats by its supporters.

Three supporters arrested

The disciplinary committee undoubtedly held against OL that this was the second serious incident involving the Lyon club, after the one against Marseille in Ligue 1, on November 21. The throwing of a full bottle of water on the Marseillais Dimitri Payet and the stoppage of the match after a few minutes had earned OL the withdrawal of one point in the standings. The meeting will have to be replayed behind closed doors.

→ ANALYSIS Football: when supporters slip and penalize their team

On Friday, December 17, it was at half-time for the Cup match between the PFC (L2) and OL, at the Charléty stadium, that the overflows took place. Smoke had been launched near the parking lot of Lyon supporters and fights had broken out in the stands, leading to crowd movements and the deployment of the police. Two people, a supporter and a policeman, were injured.

If no arrest took place at the time, three ultra Parisian supporters were then arrested. Two of them will be tried for violence in meetings, we learned last Wednesday from the prosecution, which opened an investigation the day after the events.

According to a source familiar with the matter, ” ultras from Paris SG could be identified on the videos “Incidents, while the Lyon ultras” wanted to do battle at Gare de Lyon »On their arrival in the capital.



Tennis: Davis Cup is moving further and further away from its tradition

Completed, in two steps, three movements. Thursday, November 25, a hard-won success from the Czech Republic (2-1). Saturday, November 27, a defeat announced against Great Britain (1-2). And this Sunday 28, a very slim hope of qualifying suspended from the results of other matches, logically contrary to the end: the Blues of tennis have already finished with the Davis Cup 2021, a purge carried out in Austria and behind closed doors, pandemic obliges .

To console ourselves, we can summon the memory of the campaigns of yesteryear, meetings over three days with marathon matches in five rounds with a knife in front of a excited audience. It was the silver bowl of the golden era, before money matters came to the net, and a man named Gerard Piqué took the stake.

→ ANALYSIS. Men’s tennis in the face of losing points of reference

The defender and businessman of Football Club de Barcelona acquired for twenty-five years, with his company Kosmos, the rights to the prestigious competition in 2018, by offering the International Tennis Federation (ITF) a check which, as we say, do not refuse: nearly three billion euros.

“They are killing the competition”

The Davis Cup was certainly not at its best, no longer managing to seduce the big players and the sponsors. The “savior” Pique was able to upset the formula, reduced to a kind of league of 18 teams gathered over a week in Madrid. The first in 2019 turned in part to a fiasco, with an atmosphere at half mast outside the matches of Spain of Rafael Nadal (victorious finally), and a wobbly organization, meetings sometimes ending at the end of the night.

Canceled due to the Covid last year, the event takes place this year for its group stages at three sites, in Innsbruck, Turin and Madrid. Between the closed door imposed in Austria, the very sparse public in Italy and Spain, and the absence of 10 players from the World Top 15 (many injured at the end of the season, and the German Alexander Zverev, world No. 3, refusing to come), the overhaul is struggling to convince at least. But the worst is still elsewhere, with the revelation last week by the English press of a move to come for the next five years to Abu Dhabi.

The ITF has yet to validate this transfer, but the case seems heard. And it is already causing an outcry. “If they are now selling the soul of Davis Cup to the Middle East, I think it’s ridiculous and they’re killing the competition”, annoyed Lleyton Hewitt, the former champion who now coaches the Australian team. The French captain Sébastien Grosjean is also alarmed by such a development: “I think we have to sit around a table with the authorities of the circuit and integrate the players into the discussions regarding the programming, the calendar, to perhaps put this Davis Cup back in a home-away format and find the best formula. “

A pure logic of profits

The time does not seem, however, for the great democratic brainstorming. Kosmos has bet big on the Davis Cup. Because of the pandemic, the premiums paid have already been reduced (from 23 to 19 million euros, to be distributed to players and federations). We must find reliable partners to guarantee the future.

“And in this context, the sports policy of the United Arab Emirates is in perfect harmony with the Kosmos project, analysis Raphaël Le Magoariec, doctoral student specializing in the Middle East at the University of Tours. Abu Dhabi only uses sport in its diplomacy as a tool to develop its economic network. Its Formula 1 Grand Prix, for example, is only for inviting VIPs and doing business. The Davis Cup would be part of this movement, and regardless of the issues of image, profitability, or public interest. “

In fact, tennis fans are unlikely to be able to afford an expensive trip to follow their teams in Abu Dhabi. The popular dimension which had hitherto been all the salt of the ordeal? “Entities like Kosmos are driven by economic profit and have nothing to do with passion for sport. The Gulf monarchies interest them for their enormous financial capacities. And these monarchies laugh at their side of the external feeling. They do not operate on the same sporting imagination as our Western perceptions. For Kosmos as for Abu Dhabi, the Davis Cup is a product that must be sold. The rest is of little importance. “


Gerard Piqué, business version

Kosmos, the small business of the 34-year-old Catalan footballer, is becoming more and more conqueror. In December 2020, it invests in the French start-up Sorare, which is developing a business of digital football playing cards, and a few months later becomes the French technology company with the biggest fundraising (580 million euros). .

In June 2021, Kosmos launched an agency to represent top athletes, with Austrian tennis player Dominic Thiem as its first client. In August, Kosmos offered the rights to the French Ligue 1 in Spain. Very recently, Gerard Piqué also distinguished himself by launching… the World Balloon Championship. Splurge ? Mostly a hit on the Twitch app. Good sense of dribbling and business.



2022 World Cup: the Blues, an exciting qualification before a long wait

Everything was perfectly in place. On the program, back to the future. History to be scared and to spice up the session. The framework first. The Parc des Princes, for the first time in ages, the Stade de France being embarrassed by works around. And then the stake: a qualification for the World Cup. The last time these two parameters were combined was in the fall of 1993, one of the most sinister moments in the history of national football.

→ DEBATE. Football: should we boycott the 2022 World Cup in Qatar?

The Blues received, Saturday, November 13, Kazakhstan to validate their ticket to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and therefore hovered in the stands of the 28-year-old ghosts. Those at the end of the 1994 World Cup qualifying campaign, the collective memory reducing the failure of the then Blues to this improbable defeat (1-2) against Bulgaria on November 17 on a goal scored by Emil Kostadinov, to six seconds of the end of regulation time. Except that the fall of the House of France had also been played out a month earlier, already in the Park, against Israel. Tiny football nation (71e in the Fifa ranking), but which, badaboum, won in the pouring rain (3-2), showering the Blues annoyed.

A historic Mbappé

This cursed fall, Didier Deschamps, at the time both times in the field, did not hesitate to summon her to motivate his troops before Kazakhstan: “You don’t have to think you’re qualified before you are. It happened, personally, I paid for it, it must not be repeated ”. It was said. Kazakhstan, 125e world nation and 13 consecutive games without success, facing recent world champions winners of the League of Nations, the warning was not worth crippling trauma.

A certain Kylian Mbappé, in fact, hastened to nip the anxieties in the bud. A hat-trick in just over half an hour, and there was no need to worry anymore. Just enjoy an ideal evening, with goals strung like in the parade against a defense of Kazakhstan of a marked weakness: 8 in total, Mbappé finally signing a quadruplet never seen in the selection since Just Fontaine in 1958, Karim Benzema a double to look good, Adrien Rabiot his first achievement in blue, and Antoine Griezmann a penalty to participate in the party.

The Blues are therefore qualified before their last match against Finland, Tuesday, November 16 in Helsinki, and this is a first. In a group without real rivals, they have for once avoided stumbling stupidly to invite themselves to their 7e World Cup in a row. So here they are, ready to step into the unknown, this long tunnel eleven months before the arrival of the major competition. Pushed back almost on time on the Advent calendar, the 2022 Mondial (November 21-December 18) promises a very long wait when the debates usually come to life with the end of spring. What to think about and put the work back on the job? No doubt, because the sites opened by Didier Deschamps in recent months are not yet at the finishing stage.

A system still to be refined

To be confirmed in particular, the playing system favored by Didier Deschamps, this defense with three defenders who took time to win since his first try against Albania in November 2019 (2-0). It has only been installed since the start of the 2021 school year, with the efficiency we know in the League of Nations, but the role played in particular by the additional “pistons” on the wings, with a Kingsley Coman twirling against Kazakhstan, is to be further reinforced in the face of more solid opposition.

We know that this choice corresponds to the desire to put the three stars of the attack in the best possible conditions. Saturday night’s offensive festival should not make people forget that the Griezmann-Benzema-Mbappé trio can still be improved and that the three are not yet in tune. Finally, to be refined, the integration of promising young shoots of the Blues. Didier Deschamps has not hesitated in recent months to launch new recruits, rather with great success. The astonishing maturity at 21 years of Monaco midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni, the spectacular ardor of AC Milan defender Théo Hernandez (24 years old), the slaughter of the Sevilla side Jules Koundé (23 years old), or the availability of Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby (22) are all promises to be confirmed.

→ READ. In Qatar, the hidden face of the 2022 World Cup

Adjustment opportunities will not be legion in 2022, and the final preparation non-existent, the players being released only one week before the start of the World Cup. It is not the least of the difficulties which awaits these Blues of gala.


A still unclear program

After their meeting without a stake against Finland on Tuesday, November 16, the Blues will separate for more than three months. The reunion is scheduled for March 2022, with, in the boxes, a tournament project in Qatar in the company of three other teams including that of the emirate, which could be finalized in January. The other matches already scheduled are those of the League of Nations, the draw of which is scheduled for December 16. Four are announced in June, two at the end of September. The Blues will not be reunited until November 14, a short week before the start of the World Cup.