“With this report, we have the foundations for a real renovation of French sport. » The Minister of Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, wanted to be solemn, Thursday, December 7, when submitting the conclusions of the committee on ethics and democratic life in sport, co-chaired by Marie-George Buffet and Stéphane Diagana.
The former Minister of Sports (from 1997 to 2002) and the former world champion in the 400 meters hurdles (1997) had just presented the 37 proposals in their report, the fruit of eight months of work during which some 170 actors and actresses from the French sports movement were auditioned. This was the mission assigned to them, in March, by the minister after the numerous scandals which shook French sport (ice sports, football, rugby, etc.) and which were the subject, in the fall, of a parliamentary commission of inquiry.
The former communist MP, who insisted in an interview with Monde on the need for a “profound renewal” of the French sports movement, recalled, Thursday, that “the world of sport is not disconnected from the ills of society”, but that he was “poorly equipped” to respond to challenges.
Read the interview: Article reserved for our subscribers Marie-George Buffet: “French sport is sick and weakened”
After praising the quality of the work carried out by the 12 members of the committee (6 men and 6 women), Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said she “perfectly comfortable, both in principle and in form with 70% of the proposals” of the report, in particular those relating to the ethics committees in the federations and within the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) – independence of their members, extended powers, self-referral. “A real little revolution in ethicsunderlined the minister, which goes in the direction of the responsibility of the sports movement”.
A “great law” around ethics and democratic life
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra also announced, as recommended in the Buffet-Diagana report, the launch, from the beginning of January, of a major consultation with the entire sports movement, as part of the “great national cause » decreed by President Emmanuel Macron.
The minister also shares the committee’s call to build, at the end of this consultation, at the end of the first half of 2024, a draft framework law for sport. And wishes to present at the end of September, the day after the Paralympic Games, “a great law for the heritage of the Games and the renovation of French sport” around ethics and democratic life, which she hopes to see be debated concurrently with the 2025 finance bill.
If the minister subscribes to the majority of the report, she showed reservations on some proposals from Marie-George Buffet and Stéphane Diagana, in particular those on the ban on the accumulation of mandates and on the strict application of the principle of parity in the federal elections. Supporting examples (professional handball leagues, rugby, football, etc.), the former general director of the French Tennis Federation recalled, “reality principle which encourages caution”the difficulty in certain governing bodies of finding a sufficient number of candidates: by 2028, the French sports movement must convince 4,000 women to run in federal elections to achieve parity.
Opposed to a specific agency for sexual violence
The Minister of Sports also wishes ” go further ” as the report on the implementation of the incompatibility regime in the event of a criminal conviction, even if not final. It plans, in compliance with the principle of presumption of innocence, to institutionalize this withdrawal regime by law in order, “in the most problematic cases”to preserve the weakened institution – a barely veiled allusion to the Laporte and Atcher scandals in rugby, and Le Graët in football, which shook the world of sport at the start of the year.
Read also: Article reserved for our Rugby subscribers: Bernard Laporte remains at the head of the FFR but is ordered to strictly withdraw
Amélie Oudéa-Castéra also wants to strengthen the control of the good repute of all educators and volunteers in the sports movement, subject volunteer recruiters in football to a licensing obligation for “pass the morality check”and is considering the possibility of a lifetime license suspension for those responsible for the most serious crimes and offenses.
The minister, on the other hand, was firmly opposed to the report’s recommendation to entrust a “independent administrative authority” the treatment of gender-based and sexual violence in sport. This question is “much too important for there not to be, on the contrary, a full and complete affirmation of the absolute vocation of the ministry in sovereign matters”argued Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who prefers to rely on the Signal Sport unit and the reinforced resources with which it has provided the ministry in 2023 (+ 20 full-time equivalents) and in 2024 (+ 36). “I fear that the creation of a new structure, of a “thing”, will break this momentum and will make a certain number of procedures more cumbersome,” confides the minister.
Read the investigation: Article reserved for our subscribers Sexual violence: the parliamentary commission of inquiry which is shaking up French sport