Resignation of Bernard Laporte: French rugby without a president and still in crisis

End of reign? Certainly. Game over ? This is an other story. By presenting his resignation to the steering committee of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) meeting on Friday January 27 in Marcoussis (Essonne), its president Bernard Laporte only consented to the inevitable. His position had been increasingly untenable since his conviction on December 13, 2022 to a two-year suspended prison sentence and a fine of €75,000, in particular for passive corruption, influence peddling and illegal taking of interests.

The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, had immediately called for her resignation, very quickly followed by the National Rugby League (LNR), the governing body of professional clubs, considering that it was necessary “bringing peace to French rugby through the organization by the FFR of new elections”. By negotiating his “withdrawal” pending his appeal, Bernard Laporte refused to abdicate, counting on the consent of the clubs called upon to validate by a vote the name of his temporary replacement, the vice-president of the FFR Patrick Bush. The result of the ballot fell Thursday, January 26, a real slap in the face for an already staggering president. With more than 90% turnout, 51.06% of voters rejected the proposal.

An untenable situation

Bernard Laporte could only draw the consequences and lower his head to the exit. Except that the page is not quite turned. Because the sequel that the steering committee, sovereign in the matter, seeks to write, reflects the divisions that still agitate the “big family” of rugby. The statutes of the FFR offered two possible solutions. Or under the terms of article 21, the appointment of an interim president, then the convening next June of a general meeting of the FFR to elect a new president within the current steering committee. That is, under the terms of article 15, a resignation of the whole of the steering committee causing within six weeks the organization of new elections more widely open.

At the end of the meeting at the start of which she had invited herself on Friday morning, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra hastened to ask these elements, however affirming her preferences: ” VSwas somewhere my advisory role (…) I told them that the path which seemed to me the clearest, the clearest, the most legitimate and also the fastest, because we all want this crisis to be able to go to its end. term and be resolved quickly now, was the way for a resignation from the steering committee. » This solution was also called for by the opposition to Bernard Laporte, the Ovale ensemble collective led by the president of the Ile-de-France Regional League Florian Grill, a candidate who failed by a small amount in the last federal elections (49% compared to 51% at Bernard Laporte in 2020).

The federal opposition also resigns

But the steering committee, where 40 members sit, including 9 from the opposition, did not choose this path, favoring the appointment of an interim president and the convening in Lille at the end of June-beginning of July of an elective general assembly. evoking a “putsch”the opposition immediately decided to resign. “We cannot condone this hold-upgot carried away Florian Grill. By resigning, we put them before their responsibilities. We asked the clubs for their opinion and, today, we come to tell them that their opinion is useless. All that is not serious, all that is not responsible. It’s rude to the clubs. It’s serious. » At the start of the afternoon, the two representatives of the national rugby league (LNR) on the steering committee, its president René Bouscatel and the president of the Toulousain stadium, Didier Lacroix, resigned in turn.

French rugby therefore ends the week without a president, but still in crisis. Seven months before the World Cup, the picture may be less tarnished, but still very blurry. The XV of France is preparing to begin (Sunday February 5 against Italy) in this climate a Tournament of the Six Nations decisive for its confidence before the global deadline. Coach Fabien Galthié, long very close to Bernard Laporte, has applied himself for months to staying away from current debates, keeping the XV of France in his bubble, in his unalterable project.

This is also the only anchor of the scattered oval. Not touch the XV of France, swear all the protagonists of the current soap opera. That the Blues continue to win, shared hope. For the rest, it’s still open scrum. Which is not quite the best representation of the famous “French flair”.



Australian Open: “French tennis players are in their place today”

La Croix: Why do French players fail to reach the last four of a Grand Slam tournament?

Patrice Hagelaeur: On the men’s side, for a few years, we simply haven’t had players who are at the level to win Grand Slams. Since the Tsonga-Gasquet-Monfils generation, the French reservoir has fluctuated around 40e place in the ATP ranking, which explains why we do not find French players in the last four of a Grand Slam, or even in the round of 16.

Some players like Lucas Pouille or Ugo Humbert had to deal with certain injuries, even though they showed great promise. They are far from competing with the top 10 in the world. France is in a dip, but it will be interesting to scrutinize the next generation. Very young players like Luca Van Assche (18) or Gabriel Debru (17) have real potential.

In women, the problem is a little different. Caroline Garcia is world number four, and we feel that the problem is elsewhere.

In mental preparation in particular?

pH: All coaches will tell you the same thing: you play with your body, your technique and your physique. These are the necessary basics. But all that is insufficient if you don’t have the mind and the “heart”. If you are unable to control your emotions, you cannot win. We play to win, not not to lose. When we start to tense up, to feel frustrated, doubt sets in, confidence disappears. It makes the difference.

During his press conference after his loss at the Australian Open (in the round of 16, Monday January 23, editor’s note), Caroline Garcia herself admitted not having a good handle on her feelings. Yet she has the tennis to win a Grand Slam. All of this is working. It is still necessary that the players choose the right people to accompany them. This question is not new. Yannick Noah already had a mental trainer in addition to valuable support from Arthur Ashe, who really helped him become aware of the issues.

We have often spoken of the “golden generation” in French tennis, but none has converted hopes. Do we tend to see ourselves as “too handsome” in France?

pH: I think that we have above all tended to be too severe with this generation of players who are Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Gaël Monfils or Gilles Simon. In twenty years, or 80 Grand Slam tournaments, more than three quarters have been won by three men: Federer, Djokovic and Nadal. The French arrived at the peak of their career at a time when the unbeatable dominated. Same for women with Serena Williams. Which did not prevent Marion Bartoli, or before her Amélie Mauresmo and Mary Pierce, from winning.

I believe that the French public loved this generation enormously, to the point of being too demanding. In 2014, when France lost the Davis Cup against Switzerland, the players were taken down and the media and popular judgment was really harsh. It is quickly forgotten that they lost to Roger Federer, who was then world number two, and Stanislas Wawrinka, who was number four. There is nothing to be ashamed of.

When France lost the Football World Cup against Argentina, the players were welcomed as heroes, but the tennis players weren’t. It’s a bit hard.

A country coeven Spain has fewer licensees than France. Still, the Spaniards have won more than 20 Grand Slam titles. Is the French formation failing?

pH: At the start, we had a lot of academies in France with a large pool of players who combined studies, training, medical follow-up, and who went to competition every week. But for obscure political reasons, this completely crumbled in the 2000s.

However, destroying a well-functioning system is much faster than rebuilding one. Today, apart from Insep (National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance) and some academies in the south of France, it is complicated for some parents to offer their children who dream of becoming champions adequate training, close to home.

You mention Spain. Among our neighbours, the mental contribution we were talking about earlier is done via former great players who participate fully in the emergence of new talents. Current world number one Carlos Alcaraz plays under former champion Juan Carlos Ferrero. This transmission must also exist in France.

It’s a paradox because tennis is an individual sport, but I’m convinced that the victory of a French player in the Grand Slam will go through collective cohesion.



Equipment, public, media exposure… French volleyball to conquer new markets

On August 7, 2021, the Blues won, in Tokyo, the first Olympic title in their history against Russia. A coronation followed by a new victory for the teammates of Earvin Ngapeth, last summer, in the League of Nations against the United States. Never had the France team, whose record remained blank for sixty-nine years, from its first official match in 1946 until its first title in 2015, appeared so strong.

Uninhibited, the Blues will aim for a new title at the Paris Olympics. A performance that only the USSR (in 1964 and 1968) and the United States (in 1984 and 1988) have achieved so far. “This golden generation is quite capable of achieving this feat”, says Éric Tanguy, president of the French Volleyball Federation (FFVB).

Spectacular progress of the women’s volleyball team

During this time, the French women’s team began a spectacular progression, going from 55e place, in 2015, at the 20e place today in the international ranking. After reaching the quarter-finals of the 2021 European Championship in Serbia, the team coached by Belgian Émile Rousseaux won its first major title in 2022, in the European League of Nations.

These performances did not go unnoticed in the major European teams. Imitating Christina Bauer, who was for a long time the only Frenchwoman to play abroad, Héléna Cazaute, the captain of Les Bleues, Lucille Gicquel or Amandha Sylves recently exported their talent to the – very tough – Italian championship.

The successes of the national selections gave a serious boost to the clubs, which recorded a “real boom in licensees, around 40%”, observes Yves Bouget, the president of the National Volleyball League (LNV). But this influx caught the leaders off guard: We suffer, like all indoor sports, from a very worrying shortage of equipment for the future and the absence of an infrastructure construction plan since the end of the 1960s”, denounces Yves Bouget.

The creation of new teams is hampered by the lack of gymnasiums, while the most coveted formations resign themselves to limiting their number of licensees. Our structures have been saturated for a long time. We were already refusing people before the gold medal at the Olympics”, assures Gilles Gosselin, manager of the Saint-Nazaire club. The ambitious promoted from Ligue A, who will reopen a training center next season, discusses with the municipality“which is sensitive to this problem, but which must also carry out other projects, in particular finding land to build housing”.

An ever-increasing crowd during elite matches

This renewed attractiveness is also reflected in the level of crowds in the stands, during elite matches. Tours Volley-Ball (TVB) had 175,000 spectators last season, while Saint-Nazaire is cultivating a historic local enthusiasm for volleyball: Since we have returned to the elite, our Sports Palace has been constantly full, rejoices Gilles Gosselin. This fervor is not new. When we were relegated in 3e division, we already had an attendance higher than the average for League A clubs.

Yves Bouget regrets that this dynamic has been hit hard by the health crisis. “It delayed the work we were doing on our business model, which is to make volleyball a spectator sport. » The former president of TVB, elected head of the LNV in December 2020, is working to find new outlets for professional clubs, whose budgets remain much lower than those of basketball and handball.

To do this, the French leaders had imagined integrating into League A – for two seasons – the Chinese team, 17e in the world rankings, which would have taken up residence in a French city in order to prepare for the 2024 Olympics. The project was dismissed last summer by the Ministry of Sports: It’s a shame because the Chinese had agreed to invest 8 million euros over four years,” regrets Yves Bouget. A windfall of 2 million euros per year, higher than the current budget of the LNV. “We would have had substantial resources for real development. »

Inspired by the change made fifteen years earlier by professional handball, the LNV encourages its members to turn to private funding: “We must no longer content ourselves with chasing public subsidies”, pleads its president. A “Club License”, a new professional label, is being created to encourage clubs to structure themselves, develop their networks of partners and look more and more like companies and no longer like sports clubs”.

Media exposure, the clubs’ new hobbyhorse

A necessary policy, according to Daniel Braun, president of the Mulhouse club, one of the biggest budgets (2.2 million euros) in the women’s League A: “With the economic and energy crisis, we should have no illusions, communities are not going to increase their participation in the operation of professional clubs. »

To find new partners, the LNV has made media exposure its new hobbyhorse. The youtuber “Le volleyeur français” has thus joined the website, the streaming channel launched by the League. When I started my term, we had 6,000 subscribers. We now have 35,000. rejoices Yves Bouget, who has reached an agreement with BeIN Sports for the broadcast of the best poster of each day of the championship every Friday evening since September 30, 2022.

This is a big step forward, no doubt favored by the Olympics. It’s been a few years since we were on premium TV. If volleyball isn’t televised, we won’t move forward.” says Pascal Foussard, manager of TVB, leader of Ligue A. Among women, the media of the Altice group broadcast, live and unencrypted, the French championship on the Twitch channel of RMC Sport and on the antennas of BFM Regions.

The arrival of these broadcasters does not directly fill the coffers of the clubs, contrary to what is practiced in football or rugby, which have made television rights the bedrock of their economic model. But it will make it easier to find new sponsors. A player who wants to invest will instantly find himself with visibility around a strong brand,” claims Yves Bouget. Two large companies are in advanced discussions with the LNV to associate their name with the men’s and women’s A Leagues. The future of tricolor volleyball is played, more than ever, on the economic ground.


The number of licensees on the rise

Before the Covid-19 crisis, the French Volleyball Federation listed 135,000 licensees registered in the 1,800 clubs in France. Last season, that number was 182,800, including 99,000 men and 83,000 women.

In January 2023, 160,000 people have already subscribed to a license, 20% more than the same period last year. Girls represent 57% of license holders up to the age of 18.

The International Volleyball Federation unveiled in November the calendar and the six host cities of the group stage of the League of Nations 2023. A French city is one of them: Orléans (Loiret) will host a group including France, Brazil and Slovenia from June 20 to 25.



Frenchman Adam Siao Him Fa crowned European figure skating champion

Frenchman Adam Siao Him Fa, 21, was crowned European figure skating champion for the first time in his career on Friday January 27 in Espoo (Finland).

France had been waiting for a continental title in the men’s category since 2011 and Florent Amodio’s gold. With a total of 267.77 points, he is ahead of the Italian Matteo Rizzo (259.92 pts) and the Swiss Lukas Britschgi (248.01 pts).

All the technical elements of his free program did not go perfectly in the first part of the choreography, but Siao Him Fa, who skated to music by Woodkid, later freed himself.

He had a comfortable lead of more than ten points after the short program on Wednesday anyway.

In the absence of the defending champion, the Russian Mark Kondratuik suspended due to the war in Ukraine, the first place seemed more accessible than ever for the native of Bordeaux, 14th at the Olympic Games last year, who answered present on Finnish ice cream.

Already champion of France this year

This European gold medal comes to reward a good season for the Frenchman, crowned in November at the Grand Prix de France in Angers as well as at the French Championships a month later.

The other tricolor engaged, Kevin Aymoz, finished at the foot of the podium (240.92 pts), as in 2019. To the music of the Gladiateur thread, the Frenchman was only able to chain two jump combinations, which earned him to lose a few points.



At the origins of the excellence of French handball

Everything is fine and it lasts. The Blues of handball approached the World Cup, Wednesday, January 11, with the same ambition that they have been carrying around now for thirty years. They are still aiming for a podium, to add a medal to their long-term record already loaded with 21 charms in international competition.

The habit of seeing these Blues at the top helping, we almost forget the exceptional nature of this longevity at altitude. And also that it was not always so. The durability of the results undoubtedly comes from this time when French handball was close to nothingness at the international level. “My generation is so afraid of going back to square one that they do everything they can to perform again and again. We have suffered too much and for too long.loose Philippe Bana, 65, the current president of the French Handball Federation (FFHB).

Coming out of nothingness

The starting point ? It was in the mid-1980s. Handball was emerging from a period of structuring under the leadership of its sparkling president Nelson Paillou, who since 1964 had been responsible for transforming the discipline into a mass sport, betting very strongly on the school sports. The policy pursued by the man who in 1982 became president of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (Cnosf) left solid foundations… but a French team that dawdled in terms of results.

“At the time, handball was dominated by Eastern European countries and Germany, and you couldn’t imagine for a moment being able to overturn the table. We are in a sort of resigned routine”remembers Olivier Krumbholz, in blue in 1983 before later taking care of women’s handball to become the major architect of his progress as coach of the France team which he still leads. “And then we only train twice a week, because we work elsewhere, while the guys from the Eastern bloc only do that”adds Philippe Gardent, in selection since 1983 and future captain of the Blues.

The Blues find themselves in 1985 relegated to the third international division, having to play the World Cup C. A humiliation. It was necessary to react, especially since Paris was then a candidate for the organization of the 1992 Olympic Games. After years of having privileged the masses, the FFHB decided on a plan much more oriented towards the top level. And in particular the France team.

The Costantini Revolution

In October 1986, however, the decision of the International Olympic Committee falls, which gives the 1992 Games to Barcelona. Backfire? No. The FFHB stays the course and the redefined objective is a qualification for the Games, which would be a first for the Blues. The plan becomes “Pari 1992”. The technician who made the heyday of the Marseille club, Daniel Costantini, takes control of the France team, with a program of hell.

“I implement a specific training formula for around twenty internationals, 2 hours every morning, with in particular bodybuilding which is hardly done at the time.says Daniel Costantini. We double the training volume for two years. We must make the clubs accept to lose some control over the internationals in this way. It’s a revolution. But they play the game. The formula also requires paying the players, inaugurating a semi-professionalism that will develop.

A crazy obstacle course

At this rate, the internationals quickly become competitive. And fortunately, because getting the ticket to Barcelona is a crazy obstacle course. The Blues first won the World C to find the World B in 1989. It took place in France and that was good because you had to be in the top five to reach the World A the following year. just by winning the match for the 5e place against Switzerland (19-13). In 1990, in Czechoslovakia, the last possibility of qualification in Barcelona is offered to the winner of the match for the 9e square. The Blues are there against Iceland, “at 9 a.m., an improbable time, but which guarantees us a very long party behind”, still having fun Philippe Gardent. Because the Blues win 29-23, “which starts the whole story”summarizes the ex-captain.

Effectively. The Blues certainly take advantage of the collapse of certain teams in the East after the fall of the Berlin Wall, but they know how to seize their chance. They are Olympic, why stop there? “In warm-up matches, we pull off a few good shots, we see that something is born, even if we are perhaps the only ones who think we can exist in this competition”, continues Philippe Gardent. The Blues do exist: bronze medal. And they confirmed at the 1993 world championship in Sweden, winning silver and a nickname, the “Barjots”, the group distinguishing itself by its talent and its festive outbursts. Two years later, it’s the Holy Grail: 1995 world champions in Iceland.

Sustainability of results

Three years to put French handball on top of the world. The view is beautiful. Nobody wants to come down. “Several factors will then allow the sustainability of the resultsexplains Lise Cardin, doctor in science and technology of physical and sports activities (Staps) and specialist in the history of the discipline. External factors such as the Bosman judgment which authorizes the free movement of players in Europe. Those from Eastern countries will come to France and advance the level of clubs. The tricolor internationals finally recognized will go to harden themselves abroad. Internally, the technical management and the national coaches will take care to disseminate their knowledge through regular meetings with the technical managers of France, and the detection and training will be accentuated with the implementation in the years 1990 training centers for clubs and poles. »

The Barjots, the Strong and the Experts

The renewal of talents is thus ensured, and their gradual integration into the French team is successful with a certain fluidity. After the Barjots, the Heavyweights, then the Experts who crushed everything from 2008 to 2015 under the leadership of Claude Onesta. “The Blues are renewed by thirds, the team thus being a diesel that never chokes. This is what I call sustainable performance”, comments Philippe Bana. Who as deputy national technical director from 1995 then in full in 1999 applied himself to another rise in power: that of the Blue. With the setting in music, the conductor Olivier Krumbholz, at the baton in 1998. “Daniel Costantini’s precepts, we could adapt them perfectly to women’s handball, and since we also had a large pool, we moved forward quite quickly”indicates the technician, vice-world champion since 1999. Less than fifteen years later, the Blue Olympic champions in title accumulate 13 international medals.

Handball thus draws a major success since 1992 and the first Olympic medal for a French collective sport, with yet a still minimal recognition sometimes generating some frustrations. Because at each competition, the Blues or the Blues almost always feel called upon to prove. But without complaining, they do.

An impressive track record

The winners of the Blues: Three Olympic titles (2008, 2012, 2021), silver in 2016 and bronze in 1992. Six world titles (1995, 2001, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017), silver in 1993, and bronze in 1997 , 2003, 2005 and 2019. Three European titles (2006, 2010, 2014) and bronze in 2008 and 2018.

The winners of the Blues: An Olympic title (2021) and silver in 2016. Two world titles (2003 and 2017) and silver four times (1999, 2009, 2011, 2021). A European title in 2018, silver in 2020, and bronze in 2002, 2006 and 2016.

The Blues started the 28e edition of the world championship Wednesday, January 11 against Poland, host country with Sweden. The rest of their first round is for January 14 against Saudi Arabia (6 p.m.) and January 16 against Slovenia (6 p.m.).



Noël Le Graët, strong but disavowed man of French football

” Ashamed “, “disgusted”, “odious character” : since Sunday, the virulent reactions multiply with regard to the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), Noël Le Graët, after the latter made unkind remarks towards the former footballer Zinedine Zidane, during a TV show.

This avalanche of comments, added to other cases in which he is implicated, prompted the leader to convene the executive committee of the FFF, Wednesday, January 11. The meeting ended with the decision to withdraw Noël Le Graët from the presidency of the French Football Federation. A scathing disavowal for the one who had been at the head of French football for more than a decade.

Le Graët, Laporte… How to change the governance of sports federations?

Born in Bourbriac (Côtes-d’Armor), ten kilometers from Guingamp, to a working mother in agricultural machinery and a truck driver father, Noël Le Graët began his career as a teacher, then was a tax official and representative of commerce, for which he criss-crossed the country.

Successes with EA Guingamp

Back in his native region, he took over the reins of his city’s football club, En avant Guingamp (EAG). A team of amateur players, playing in the regional division, the EAG reached national level under the presidency of Noël Le Graët.

As soon as he arrived in 1972, he put the club in debt by buying a stadium and his team enjoyed a glorious career in the Coupe de France in 1973. “The Coupe de France is a wonderful adventure, because it allows a modest amateur club to distinguish itself each year”, then tells the young leader of 32 years in a report on the Guingampaise epic. Twenty years later in 1991, when he left the management of the club, it was comfortably installed in the second level of French football.

Noël Le Graët has also established himself in the business world. In the 1980s, he set up his frozen products company, which bears his name, and bought a dozen local companies. A double hat of club and business leader to which he adds that of mayor. From 1995 to 2008, he remained for two terms at the head of the town of Guingamp, of 7,000 inhabitants, under the colors of the Socialist Party (PS).

Beyond his city, the leader is trying his luck in the football authorities. From 1991 to 2000, he directed the Professional Football League (LFP). It is he who will then be the first to file a complaint during the vast case of match-fixing Marseille-Valenciennes, in 1993.

Several controversies

His character of “strong head”as described by the newspaper The world in a portrait, makes him climb the ladder of the highest authority of French football. Initially as vice-president (2005-2011), in charge of economic issues, then president of the French Football Federation (FFF) since 2011, assuring each of his terms that it will be the last.

In more than ten years at the head of the FFF, Le Graët stacks up several hazardous exits in the media. “The racist phenomenon in sport and in football in particular does not exist, or hardly exists”, he assures the microphone of BFM in 2020. The president also refuses to stop matches in the event of homophobic chants, as well as the wearing of rainbow-colored armbands during the last World Cup in Qatar. Recently, several testimonies accuse him of sending serious SMS and of having inappropriate behavior towards employees of the federation.

A “toxic culture” at the FFF

As a manager and leader experienced in the exercise, the Breton has a network of trusted personalities, from the coach Didier Deschamps, who boasts a tandem “head coach” harmonious, to the former minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, via the general secretary of the FFF, Florence Hardouin.

The duo at the head of the FFF is however questioned by several investigations, including that of the American daily New York Times and another from the French magazine SoFoot. Both media describe a “toxic culture” within the institution, by narrating facts of ” bullying “, of “sexist language” and other inappropriate attitudes on the part of officials.

If he were to resign, the 81-year-old could still cling to one last seat: he is one of the representatives of the European federation (UEFA), within the International Football Federation (Fifa).



America’s Cup: French attempts, from Baron Bich to K-Challenge

The French are making their comeback for the 37th edition of the America’s Cup in 2024, the K Challenge union announced on Tuesday 3 January. This sailing competition, which always takes place at the home of the previous winner (also called “defender” because he is defending his title), is preceded by the Louis Vuitton Cup. This allows you to designate the “challenger” who will face the defender.

The title is currently held by Emirates Team New Zealand, a New Zealand team. Tricolor crews have regularly participated in this sailing competition created in 1851, but none has ever won.

1970, the beginnings of Baron Bic

France enters the competition almost 120 years after its creation. A delay which can perhaps be explained because the country values ​​offshore and solo racing, like the Vendée Globe, more than regattas.

It was Baron Bich, founder of the Bic brand, who finally launched the first. He built for this 21st edition the sailboat France I, classified as a historic monument in 1992. Éric Tabarly is on board the ship, whose skippers are Louis Noverraz, “Popie” Delfour and Jean-Marie Le Guillou. He bows to the Gretel II Australians.

The “pope” of pens tried his luck again in 1974 with the same sailboat, helmed by Jean-Marie Le Guillou. He is harshly eliminated. In 1977, he built the France II. Slower, it was finally abandoned in favor of France I, again losing.

In 1980, for Marcel Bich’s last campaign, Bruno Troublé became skipper of a new aluminum sailboat, the France III. He manages to climb to the final of the challengers but is beaten by the Australian ship.

In 1983, the beginning of the post-Bich era

For the 1983 edition, the France III remains helmed by troubled Bruno. The sailboat has meanwhile been bought by Yves Rousset-Rouard, producer of the erotic film Emmanuelle, one of the biggest successes of French cinema (up to 50 million admissions worldwide, according to the Allociné site).

the France III is beaten by Australia II, future winner of the competition, which puts an end to 132 years of American invincibility. In 1987, the edition therefore took place outside the United States for the first time, in Western Australia.

The French ship, French Kiss, is led by Marc Pajot and financed by Serge Casnianski who owns a key duplicating company, Kis. The tricolor crew reached the semi-final of the challengers competition.

In 2000, the first America’s Cup without Americans

In 1992, the City of Paris, financed by the Breton industrialist Pierre Legris, manages to repeat this performance. It is led by Marc Pajot and Marc Bouët. In 1995, the French sailboat was called France 2 and it is financed by France Télévisions. It was once again Marc Pajot who helmed him, but the skipper was unable to repeat his previous performances and quickly found himself eliminated.

In 2000, Bouygues Telecom aligned the 6e Meaning, helmed by Bertrand Pacé. He manages to reach the semi-finals of the first America’s Cup not to count challenger neither defend American. It takes place in New Zealand.

With the abandonment of the nationality rule, Bertrand Pacé joins the New Zealand team, better financed. The French however align theAreva, backed by the energy giant. Her mast, which was too heavy, turned out to be inefficient, and the sailboat was eliminated before the semi-finals. The Swiss from Alinghi become the first Europeans to win the competition.

French absences from 2010

From 2007, boats competing must be built in the sponsor’s home country. For the second time in the history of the competition, after 1851 and the original race in England, the race takes place in Europe, off Valencia (Spain).

It is also the first time that the Cup has taken place outside the country of defendSwitzerland, which does not have access to the sea. The French boat, sponsored by K-Challenge and Areva, finished 6th in the Louis Vuitton Cup which decides between the challengers.

In 2010, for the first time since 1970, no French challenge took part in the competition. On the other hand, Thierry Fouchier wins aboard the challenger American. No tricolor crew will participate in the 34th edition either, in 2013.

The French however made their comeback, sponsored by Groupama, in 2017. They were eliminated before the semi-finals. “ We don’t finish as we would have liked, but we discovered the Cup, it’s addictive, launched skipper Franck Cammas at the time. The balance sheet is positive. We want to continue and maintain this momentum. » Waiting for 2023, after a last absence in 2021.



2022 World Cup: French sports betting has reached a record

More than 615 million euros were bet online during the 2022 Football World Cup, an amount never reached in France during this competition, indicates the National Gaming Authority (ANJ). The France-Argentina final alone generated 55 million stakes, while 30 million were wagered in the France-Morocco semi-final.

For comparison, 366 million had been bet in total for the competition in 2018 and 420 million for the Euro in 2021, according to the policeman of the sector, who will publish in January a complete report analyzing these figures and the behavior of the bettors.

The marketing of the operators in question

This report will also include a section devoted to the advertising campaigns of sports betting operators. The association Addictions France indeed denounced, shortly after the final, the “questionable marketing techniques” sports betting and alcohol businesses. They have been qualified by this association as“other winners”of the Mondial-2022.

“Ubiquitous in public places and on the Internet”operators of online betting sites and alcoholic drinkers “encourage unhealthy practices while clearly associating football with alcohol consumption and gambling”the association wrote in a statement.

The National Gaming Authority responsible for protecting consumers

Before the World Cup, companies in the gambling and media sectors had committed to publicizing more ” responsible “ in particular by limiting advertising pressure for minors.

The National Gaming Authority was created in 2020, when the Française des jeux was privatized. It monitors all gambling and games of chance and participates in the fight against fraud. It must ensure, in particular, the protection of consumers and vulnerable populations.



Football World Cup: French presidents still in the front row

“We must not politicize sport”, advanced Emmanuel Macron, on the eve of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The French president will however go there to attend the semi-final of the competition, which opposes the French team to that of Morocco, Wednesday, December 14 at 8 p.m.

During previous editions of this planetary meeting with a large audience, the World Cup has been the scene of successes and crises for the French team. With, often, the successive Presidents of the Republic in the front row.

► François Mitterrand, mediator after the “Seville drama” 1982

In what will remain as the “Night of Seville”, French defender Patrick Battiston was violently hit by German goalkeeper Harald Schumacher during the semi-final of the 1982 World Cup. This incident, which was not sanctioned by the referee, deeply marked the spirits.

“French Killer”, “boche filth” : the day after the elimination of the Blues, the insults burst out, despite the excuses of the German goalkeeper. And they revive a certain resentment of the French towards their German neighbors. So much so that German Chancellor Helmut Kohl encourages his French counterpart, François Mitterrand, to react to calm the ardor of his upset citizens. The two Heads of State will publish a joint press release, recalling that it was only a football match.

► Jacques Chirac in 1998, between garden party and “Coupe de France”

Jacques Chirac all smiles, wearing the blue jersey on his shoulders and stroking the bald head of Fabien Barthez. The images of the French team’s victory against Brazil (3-0) made the rounds of television sets. The first world title of the Blues in 1998, at home, is all the more welcome for the president, who seems to have reached an impasse after a year of cohabitation with the socialist Lionel Jospin, as prime minister.

In this popular momentum of a black-white-Beur team, the two men had organized a reception at the Élysée, for the players, political leaders and certain supporters. Presenting the trophy on this occasion, Jacques Chirac exclaimed: “Here is the French team and the French Cup! »before correcting itself in stride.

► After the debacle of Knysna in 2010, the political reaction of Nicolas Sarkozy

Much less glorious than in 2006, when the team led by Zinedine Zidane reached the final, the Blues emerged from the first round of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, without scoring a single victory. And the press echoed the insults uttered by Nicolas Anelka against coach Raymond Domenech, at half-time of a match.

This deleterious climate leads the players of the team to declare themselves on strike, refusing to get off their bus to train. At the end of this internal and sporting debacle, the President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy had described as “unacceptable” the insults against the coach and claimed that the players “do not receive bonuses”. The French president took the opportunity to demand a general assembly of football.

► In 2018, Emmanuel Macron surfs on the success of the Blues

Emmanuel Macron had his picture taken, exulting in the stands after a goal in the France-Croatia final (4-2) of the 2018 World Cup.

Accompanied by Russian President Vladimir Putin, host of the competition, and his Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, he was also invited to the locker room of the double world champions at the end of the meeting. A year later, the whole group had been decorated with the Legion of Honor from the hands of the French president.



Bernard Laporte sentenced to two years in prison suspended, French rugby in turmoil

This is the epilogue of a legal soap opera that has shaken French rugby for several months. Tuesday, December 13, the president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) was sentenced to two years in prison and a fine of €75,000 by the Paris Criminal Court for having tied “a pact of corruption” with businessman Mohed Altrad, manager of Montpellier Hérault Rugby (MHR), concerning in particular the allocation of sponsorship for the Blues jersey.

The sentence of the boss of French rugby, found guilty of passive corruption, influence peddling, illegal taking of interests and concealment of misuse of corporate assets, was accompanied by a two-year ban on exercising any function related with rugby. Bernard Laporte’s decision to appeal being suspensive, he retains his seat at the FFR, less than ten months from the World Cup in France.

Is it just a temporary reprieve for the former coach of the XV of France? Tuesday evening, the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra estimated that his conviction “obstructed” in the pursuit of his mission at the top of the FFR, claiming in fact his replacement at the end of“a new democratic era to allow French rugby to start again on a sufficiently healthy and solid foundation as quickly as possible”.

For his part, Mohed Altrad was found guilty of active bribery, influence peddling, abuse of corporate assets, and received an eighteen-month suspended prison sentence and a €50,000 fine.

The Laporte-Altrad relationship in the sights of the judges

The origin of the case dates back to a series of arbitrations rendered in 2017-2018. Bernard Laporte allegedly used his status to interfere in favor of his friend Mohed Altrad after receiving €180,000 from him in March 2017, under an image contract that was never executed. “Each of his interventions was guided by a bias towards Mohed Altrad”, according to the court, favoring in particular the awarding of the very first sponsorship contract for the jersey in the history of the XV of France to the construction group of Mohed Altrad. At the time, Bernard Laporte brushed off criticism, promising the partnership would pay off “at least 35 million euros” over five years, for the benefit of amateur rugby.

The suspicions of favoritism went further. The president of the FFR would also have intervened to alleviate disciplinary sanctions aimed at the Montpellier club. Indicted for having maintained the postponement of matches for the benefit of the said club, the vice-president of the FFR, Serge Simon, was released. To these legal setbacks is added the recent layoff of the project manager of the organization of the 2023 World Cup, Claude Atcher, for managerial practices judged “alarming”.

The 2023 World Cup in sight

These legal disputes tarnish French rugby and contrast with the state of grace, on the ground, of the France team. Former international fly-half under the Laporte era, Yann Delaigue is however confident in the ability of French rugby to recover from the condemnation of the leader of the federation: “Rugby is, in its very essence, a sport based on the idea that no one is irreplaceable. But this verdict actually turns the oval world upside down a lot, it does not help to give a good image of our sport.. »

Max Guazzini, emblematic president of the Stade Français Paris between 1992 and 2011, sees “a case mounted in a pinch”and prefers to retain the results obtained by the one who was the successful coach of the Parisian club before taking the reins of the XV of France (2000-2007). “Since 2016, Bernard Laporte has fought for the World Cup to take place in our country when it was not won in advance. He chose a coach in the person of Fabien Galthié, who allowed our Blues to return to victory. It is largely thanks to him that tricolor rugby is doing so well. he says to The cross.

As for the supposed interferences of Bernard Laporte, Max Guazzini relativizes: “You really have to know nothing about the practices that are current in our sport to think that a president never intervenes with a disciplinary committee when there is an unjust sanction. »

The future governance of the FFR in question

However, it is the mission of the Federal Committee of Ethics and Professional Conduct of French Rugby, chaired by Bernard Foucher, to make the governance of the FFR more transparent. This entity created in 2016, concomitantly with the arrival of Bernard Laporte, benefited from “the cooperation of the federal authorities”according to this honorary member of the Council of State.

However, this body had no say in the awarding of the sponsorship contract for the Blues jersey to the Altrad group. “The contract had already been concluded, says Bernard Foucher. We simply issued recommendations on the execution of the contract to prevent potential conflicts of interest with Montpellier Hérault Rugby. » In January 2018, seized by the presidents of professional clubs, this same committee recommended the establishment of “safeguards to ensure that there is no possibility of favoritism “.