80 sports personalities demand a fund of 50 million euros to save neighborhood associations

They say to themselves “On the edge of the abyss”. Neighborhood sports associations are asking for a “Grenelle for education and inclusion through sport” in a column published Saturday, November 21 on the site of “L’Equipe”, while the crisis linked to Covid-19 places these structures in great difficulty.

“The meeting of the world of sport which announces 400 million euros this week does not target the areas in greatest difficulty of our country! We would like to be heard in the context of the recovery plan ”, explains the fifty or so signatory associations, supported by some personalities from the sports world (Gaël Fickou, vice-captain of the French rugby team, Frédéric Thiriez, former president of the Professional Football League, Gervais Martel, former president of the RC Lens, Nordine Oubaali, WBC bantamweight boxing world champion), artists (singer Cali) and some local elected officials.

The forum refers to the meeting on Tuesday between Emmanuel Macron and French sports officials, which resulted in announcements of aid for amateurs and professionals.“Sports educators who work in difficult areas are compasses, pillars, guides for young people in need of hope”, recalls the text.

A Grenelle for education and inclusion through sport “Regrouping […] associations, communities, federations and companies […] will make known the benefits of our actions and will propose new urgent public policy axes around the social performance of sport, already in place in many cities ”.

An emergency fund of 50 million euros

At the same time, the signatories request the creation of a “Long-term fund of 50 million euros, easy to use, to ensure the survival of sports associations involved in the districts of our country”. In search of recognition, the world of sport often points to the two billion aid promised to culture.

“It is a real SOS that we are launching to the public authorities. A call is made to all those who work in the field for integration through sport ”, explains on France Info Frédéric Thiriez.

“What is sport? It is the most formidable tool for education and social integration, it is living together. And for this essential role, we need the means. In three years, these clubs, which are often in urban neighborhoods or disadvantaged rural areas, have lost 60,000 jobs. Mainly subsidized jobs. We absolutely have to make things happen. What is France waiting for to seriously address the problem of disadvantaged neighborhoods and rural areas? “

And the former president of the Professional Football League to also point out the consequences of the health crisis: “We have a loss on amateur sport of 25 to 30% of licensees. That means so many fewer resources. But that’s not all, to this is added the decrease in subsidies from local communities, the flight of sponsors, also due to the health crisis. “

“50 million euros for an emergency fund, what does that represent compared to the 100 billion of the recovery plan? It’s not a big deal. “

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu responded quickly: “I am convinced of the usefulness and effectiveness of integration through sport. In 2020, more than 75 million euros made it possible to support socio-sports players as close as possible to the field. That some can say today that they are not considered is not understandable. “

“This forum comes in my opinion out of time, because measures have been taken since the beginning of the week”, the minister reacted again, on France Info, this Sunday, November 22.

“We have released 400 million euros and a large part of this amount will be dedicated, precisely, to these associations in the territory. The associations must go to this aid, that they go and seek it. “

RF (with AFP)

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