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Rugby: Castres Olympique, the success of a club rooted in its territory



The life in blue. And white. In Castres, it’s like that. The colors of the rugby club, Castres Olympique (CO), brighten up the local mood. Even more these last days of electric patience before the semi-final of the Top 14, Friday June 17 in the evening in Nice, against the big red and black neighbors of Toulouse. In the small town of Tarn, shopkeepers are playing the game in the shop window, the giant screen is ready on Place Soult, and 40,000 inhabitants are waiting to vibrate in unison.

However, it is not the exceptional nature of the event that mobilizes the city. Since 2012, this is the fifth time that CO has reached the last four. And his initials were engraved on the Brennus shield given to the champion twice, in 2013 and 2018. Castres is well and truly used to the top. Nevertheless, she never shuns her pleasure, entirely dedicated to her oval passion.

A unique proximity with the players

“Castres is an isolated sub-prefecture, where life can sometimes be complicated, and where rugby is an opportunity to unite around a common cause. It’s a source of pride and a very strong identity factor, probably more so than elsewhere. » The one who thus poses the picture is Pierre-Yves Revol, president of the club since 1988 (except between 2008 and 2014), and also president of the Pierre-Fabre Foundation, the pharmaceutical giant from Tarn (2.5 billion euros in revenue in 2021) which abounds the coffers of the club.

The CO is probably not the Tom Thumb that the boss takes pleasure in describing, but he does display a singularity in a rugby landscape dominated by large cities. “We have the tenth budget of the Top 14, and to remain competitive, we need a different recipecontinues Pierre-Yves Revol. Our ingredients? First, an ability to detect unknown talents. Then, to keep them as long as possible by promoting our values, and in particular the important interactions with the population. Finally, essential transmission work, with many former players in the management, retraining that we also support locally. »

In fact, if the CO has players of excellence like the back Julien Dumora, the Fijian center Vilimoni Botitu or the Australian second line Tom Staniforth, he never points out his individualities, always preferring to praise the collective. The players have integrated the discourse and also fade away without hesitating behind the group. Are internationals rare? So much the better, the CO keeps its troops, when the leaders of the championship have to deal with duplicates. The keys to success this year are also there, with the team finishing first in the regular season for the first time.

A quarter of the population at the stadium

No stars at CO therefore, where everyone remains accessible. “There is a real closeness with the players», assures Didier Hardy, former soldier of the 8th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (RPIMa) of Castres, another pillar of the city, and president of the Friends of Rugby, a supporters club born in 2012. “A real familiarity sets in, without it weighing on them, and the players appreciate it. Often, they don’t want to leave anymore. The audience, very family-oriented, pays them back. Even during Covid and games behind closed doors, we were outside the stadium with the sound to support them. »

President of Pouvoir Castres, another association of supporters created in 2005, Aurélie Joligard-Ouertani also applauds the availability of the players. “Seventeen of them are the sponsors of our association, and they very often come to the evenings that we organize or to help us. I’m not sure that’s the case everywhere. »

His brother Julien, ex-president of the association, evokes for his part a “true communion of spirit: during the Covid, we were the first club where the supporters agreed not to be reimbursed for their subscription, and the players the first to agree to a reduction in wages. When you see that a quarter of the city’s population ends up at the Pierre-Fabre stadium every other Sunday, I find that quite beautiful.”.

Pierre Fabre, the name of the creator of pharmaceutical laboratories, who died in 2013, remains unifying in the Tarn city. “It all starts with him, in fact, with his lifelong loyalty to the territory, more patriarch than big bosssummarizes Aurélie Joligard-Ouertani. He remains the dad of the city and of the CO, really. »

Pierre-Yves Revol now ensures the heritage, even evoking the notion of pleasure “wider than sporting or aesthetic pleasure. This team joins the trajectory of the Pierre Fabre group, with one mission: to promote this city. After our title in 2013, many doubted the sustainability of this adventure. We are still here, hoping that we can continue to value this territory for a long time”.

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Pierre-Henry Broncan, the leader of men

For ten years, the CO has been working to recruit coaches in line with the club’s philosophy. After the duo of Laurent, Travers and Labit, architects of the first title in 2013, then Christophe Urios at the maneuver for that of 2018, it is Pierre-Henry Broncan who has been in charge since December 2020. The 48-year-old technician, passed by Auch, Stade Toulouse and Bath in England, is in line with the values ​​of Tarn. No sweeping declarations, an incredible knowledge of world rugby which allows him to unearth rare profiles, a pragmatic conception of the game. It’s not always spectacular, but it often wins. Perfect summary of the CO.

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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.

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China: 21 dead in ultra-long distance race hit by extreme weather



Twenty-one people died among the participants of a 100 km race Saturday, May 22 in the mountains in northwestern China, under the sudden effect of severe weather conditions.

All the other competitors are safe and sound, since “At 3 o’clock in the morning Sunday [23 mai], 151 participants [étaient] safe “, according to the official China news agency. A total of 172 people took part in the race taking place in the Stone Forest of the Yellow River, near the town of Baiyin, in the province of Gansu (northwest of the country).

A runner who was reported missing was found at 9:30 a.m. local time, but “Had already lost his life”, noted the CCTV television channel, citing the local first aid center. “This implies that this incident killed 21 people in total”, CCTV added.

Two dead national figures

Among these victims are two national figures of the marathon, Liang Jing and Huang Guanjun, said the local press, relying on the testimonies of the trainer of the first, Wei Pulong, and a friend of the second, who has said he had confirmation of Huang’s death from the organizers of the event.

Liang Jing had won several multi-marathons in China in recent years. Huang Guanjun, who was deaf and mute, won the men’s marathon for the hearing impaired at the 2019 National Paralympic Games in Tianjin.

Eight participants were treated in hospital for minor injuries, said the mayor of Baiyin, Zhang Xuchen. New China reported that some competitors were suffering from hypothermia.

“Disastrous” weather conditions

“Around noon, the high altitude stretch of the 20 to 31 kilometer race was suddenly affected by dire weather conditions. In no time, hailstones and freezing rain suddenly fell in this area, and there were strong winds. The temperature has dropped sharply ”, Zhang Xuchen said.

Shortly after receiving calls for help from some participants, the marathon organizers dispatched a rescue team that managed to save 18 participants, according to the city councilor. At around 2 p.m., weather conditions worsened and the race was canceled, as local authorities sent more aid to the scene.

→ IN FRANCE. In Chamonix, ultra-trail unleashes passions

700 rescuers mobilized

In total, more than 700 rescuers were mobilized to search for the missing. Local media footage showed rescue workers in fatigues with headlamps scaling the rocky terrain at night. Ultra-long runners were filmed wrapped in emergency blankets.

“My whole body was soaked, including my shoes and socks. I couldn’t stand up straight because of the wind, I was very afraid of being blown away. The cold has become more and more unbearable ”, said a survivor. “Coming down the mountain, I was already experiencing symptoms of hypothermia. “

Temperatures fell further overnight, making rescue and research even more difficult, according to New China.

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