a final whistle for amateur football

There are nearly 2.2 million of them and we talk about it a lot less than the 3,000 people – players, managers, coaches, referees – playing in professional football. If the latter will know more in a few days about the terms of a possible resumption behind closed doors of the Ligue 1 and 2 championships, amateur football is now fixed on its fate. And it is hardly enviable.

The French Football Federation has taken note of Emmanuel Macron’s decision to ban any event likely to bring together the public until mid-July. The 13,000 amateur clubs playing 30,000 games each weekend are therefore officially at a standstill until next season.

A few days ago, Serge Tholoniat, volunteer leader of the US Feurs (Loire), club of Regionale 1 (6th division), was worried in The cross of this eventuality. “It’s a whole social bond that will evaporate, the players and the volunteers are cut off from each other, he said swithout counting the economic risks for next season, since the sponsors, traders or local entrepreneurs, will have other financial priorities than supporting the clubs “.

The FFF Executive Committee has taken this concern into account. He will announce in the coming days a massive support plan for amateur football, to support its restart next season. The envelope is not yet finalized but it should be around 15 million euros.

The rankings frozen on March 13

In sports, the pill is also bitter. The calendar of the ten amateur divisions of French football included ten days to play, synonymous with changes in the rankings, and therefore possible relegation and promotion to another division. The Federation’s executive committee has chosen to permanently freeze the rankings as of March 13. And limit the number of relegations and promotions to one per hen, against two or three usually depending on the level.

If the cause is heard for the vast majority of amateur clubs paying no wages to their players, the decision of the FFF was particularly expected for National 1 (3rd division) clubs, amateur entities in legal terms but flirting in the reality with the operation of professional clubs in Ligue 1 or 2 (1). The FFF Executive Committee has decided to continue thinking in favor of a possible resumption, given the specific nature of this championship. At present, the possibility of postponing the National’s calendar from June still makes it possible to envisage a recovery.

Save the female D1 in danger

The same goes for Women’s Division 1, many of which are attached to men’s pro clubs, while maintaining amateur status. While the sustainability of men’s football is not the cause, many fear that the still fragile development of women’s football will be permanently interrupted. “The current situation is likely to pose an almost existential threat to women’s football if no action is taken to protect its economy”, writes the federation of professional players, who points the finger “Low wages, few opportunities and inequalities in terms of sponsors and investments. “

Sports decisions can have significant repercussions on certain clubs in difficulty, some of which may have to file for bankruptcy, legal remedies are possible. Such a club relegated to the lower division following this truncated championship could for example appeal to the administrative court. To avoid a cascade procedure, the ministry of sports is working urgently on a text which could take the form of an ordinance. This text will reaffirm the right of sports federations to take exceptional decisions, as bodies led by elected leaders and acting as delegates of the public sport service.


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