A “bad surprise” but “we survived on camera”: the day after Prime Minister Jean Casteux announced a return to health gauges in playgrounds, French sport swings between anxiety and pragmatism.
Faced with an increase in pollution in recent days, the executive on Monday announced a series of measures, some of which would again affect French professional sport: from Monday and for three weeks, “large gatherings home to 2,000 people”. inside and will be limited to 5,000 people outside,” Castex said on Monday.
In addition, refreshments will have to be closed with a ban on “consumption of drinks and food in all theatres, theatres, sports facilities and public transport” announced by the prime minister.
These two measures risk reducing the revenues of basketball, handball, volleyball, rugby and football clubs, which have already been hit hard since the start of the health crisis.
“The bad surprise is that with the return of the gauge, it is a drop in revenue, worries the president of Metz (D1 Women’s Handball), Thierry Weisman. This leads to a 50% reduction in revenue, normally 4.000 spectators. From now on, we will go to 2.000 plus the impact on refreshments, on VIP services which we won’t be able to afford because it’s too complicated (permanent service is closed), it’s annoying.”
The men’s handball championship will not be spared since Starliga does not resume before February to make room for Euros in Hungary and Slovakia from 13 to 30 January. But two preliminary matches are affected for the French team: one against Egypt on 7 January at Chambery and then two days later at Paris-Bercy against Norway, whose capacity was already reduced, before the start of the gauge, to 16,000. Kovid 19 because of the audience.
“Communication with the public for our return from the sport unfortunately breaks down, it is disappointing,” reacted vice-captain of the blues Luka Karabetic in videoconference on Tuesday. We are only half surprised, we saw it. We are coming. During the long game of closed doors, I try to console myself by saying that, in spite of everything, 2,000 is nothing.”
– Support to compensate clubs? ,
On the other hand, French rugby, which is not relaxed, is concerned about the economic impact of these new restrictions: “Rugby is a recreational sport whose resources, on average, are more than 60% linked to the attendance of the public and participants in matches. In the meantime, notes the Director General of the LNR, Emmanuel Eschelier. Therefore (…) new support will be necessary for clubs to compensate.”
“As indicated by the Prime Minister, additional assistance to ease the restrictions imposed will be studied. The ministry has already spent 107 million euros in 2020 and 100 million euros in 2021 to compensate for ticket office losses “, the sports ministry indicated to AFP. ,
Recalling the general manager of Breton club Pascal Robert, a gesture that Stade Brestois, a resident of Ligue 1, “hoped” to benefit again, “to help cross the wave, as it was financially difficult. is starting to happen”.
In autumn 2020, the envelope of EUR 107 million benefited more football (EUR 48 million) and rugby (EUR 40 million) than handball, basketball and volleyball (EUR 4 million), which generate less revenue. ,
In contrast, the president of the Strasbourg Basketball Club, Marshal Belone, welcomes the new restrictions with pragmatism: “We run behind closed doors (…) This is not a satisfactory situation, but I believe that it is necessary to be reasonable.”
– “Severe shortage” –
With regard to football, the situation is particularly depressing for Vennes OC (National 2, Fourth Echelon), an amateur club that has upgraded its stadium by hosting Paris Saint-Germain on Monday (9:10 pm) in the 16th round of the Coupe. expected to fill. de France.
“The shortfall is huge, sorry to the club president Maxim Rey. For security reasons we had to neutralize a platform of 2,600 places for the sole supporters of PSG (…) to bring back 100,000 euros (and) Was. Will eventually bring only 5,000. More than 2,000 other venues have been neutralized due to the new gauge. There is also a reduction of 50,000 euros without counting the reception (refreshment bar and VIP tents) which will not happen and which will also cost 50,000 Euro.”
“One of the two seats that had a real meaning”, lamented Alain Pellett, director general of RC Strasbourg, criticizing the “incomprehensible gauge of 5,000 instead”.
Still in the Coupe de France, Lens, which is to receive Lille on Tuesday, asked “its future rival” and the Federation (FFF) to move the meeting to “Sunday 2 January” to avoid Gage’s application. Was. “Impossible”, replied the president of Losque Olivier Letang on the site l’Equipe.fr on Tuesday.
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