Election under high tension at the Ice Sports Federation

Holy bazaar. On Saturday, the Ice Sports Federation will elect its new president, in a context of pure psychodrama. Nathalie Péchalat, the current president, is a candidate for his succession. She had been elected two years ago, following the revelations of sexual violence in skating, by Sarah Abitbol and several skaters, in “L’Obs” and in a book “Un si long silence”. These revelations, which highlighted the omerta in skating, had caused the forced resignation of the president of the federation Didier Gailhaguet, under pressure from the then Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu.

Rape in skating: the fall of the empire Didier Gailhaguet

In two years, the record of the new president is mixed. Nathalie Péchalat has modernized and restructured the federation, put in place preventive measures against violence, but the clubs consider it too distant and cold, the former top athletes accuse her of leading alone. ” She pushed me away, denigrated, when I offered to help, testifies Philippe Candeloro. She wants to keep undivided power, she falls back into the trappings of her predecessors. » The victims of sexual violence accuse him of not having shown empathy towards them, and of not having really ” does the housework ” within the federation, for example by leaving a position of high responsibility Annick Dumont Gailhaguet, ex-wife of Gilles Beyer (the attacker of Sarah Abitbol) and ex-wife of… Didier Gailhaguet.

The sequel after the ad

“Two years is short”, defends Péchalat

These reproaches, Nathalie Péchalat brushes them aside: “ We worked a lot. The results of these two years are positive on ethics, legal, sports, relationships and organisation. I had to prioritize while facing the crisis: health, economic and federal with the scandals linked to sexual violence and the legal crisis with the threat of the withdrawal of ministerial approval. We also had to restore the image of our sports nationally and internationally. There are bound to be files that we haven’t had time to deal with. Two years is a short time. »

The Annick Gailhaguet mystery: what did the ex-wife of the French skating boss know?

Nathalie Péchalat is far from having convinced, but the candidate in front of her raises downright a wind of panic. Not because she has a bad reputation, ” nobody knows this Gwenaëlle Gigarel-Noury, president of a club in Lorient! “, is surprised Didier Lucine, pillar coach of figure skating. The candidate causes panic because she would be supported by… Didier Gailhaguet. The ex-president cannot himself be a candidate, Nathalie Péchalat having passed new statutes prohibiting him from serving more than three terms. ” For two years, he has set up a team, and toured the clubs, assures Didier Lucine. He tries to convince them to vote for Gwenaëlle Gigarel-Noury. This candidate is a puppet! He’s going to put a puppet in his place, and come back after the storm, he’s always done it that way! » Nathalie Péchalat confirms:

“I can’t tell you much about my opponent, I don’t know her, she didn’t want to argue. But we know that Didier Gailhaguet is behind her, more or less in the shadows. He is ineligible but actively participates in his campaign. »

We could not collect the reaction of Gwenaëlle Gigarel-Noury, who did not respond to any request from a journalist, it seems. Didier Gailhaguet did not respond to our interview request either, but challenged in “Le Journal du Dimanche” any manipulation of the candidate. Obviously not convincing. In the small world of skating, everyone says they are convinced that they will take over the reins: “Si Gwenaëlle Gigarel-Noury ​​is elected, he will have himself appointed director of something… perhaps he will ask the general assembly to change the statutes and have himself re-elected president! »

A close result

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Its return, whatever its mission, would be a real setback to the development of our sports disciplines and a return to the old methods.predicts Nathalie Péchalat. “If he comes back, it would be a hopeless step back! strangles Anne-Line Rolland, who was the victim of a trainer when she was 12 years old. So we would have fought all this fight so that club directors re-elect someone who has never supported the victims? » Same concern for Sarah Abitbol. ” If he came back, it would be a slap in the face for all the victims, and symbolically terrible for our sport”, testifies the ex-champion, who regrets an election ” grotesque. If we arrive at this situation, it is also because Nathalie Péchalat did not want to rely on clubs and former top athletes. I kept saying that I was available, with my association, to work with the federation… it does not show the desire »

The sequel after the ad

Rape in skating: a champion breaks the omerta

Final twist: a petition “against the return of Didier Gailhaguet” was launched a few days ago, which brings together more than 500 signatures. You can read there that “the worst would be for the FFSG to see a “masked” return its ex-gravedigger whose much decried practices have thrown through his successive presidencies a moral discredit incompatible with the image and the educational and cultural value of the disciplines of which this federation is honored “. Who started this petition? Nathalie Péchalat denies that it is her team. Names are circulating, in an atmosphere of general suspicion. “ Whatever the outcome, I can’t wait for this election to be over,” breath Philippe Candeloro. SSaturday, the general opinion is that the result should be close.

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