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Faced with sexual violence in sport, Maracineanu rings the charge

Roxana Maracineanu announced this Friday the appointment of a ministerial delegate responsible for combating violence in sport.

“Make these trials a healthy start”: faced with the unprecedented wave of revelations of cases of sexual violence which is shaking French sport, the Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu sounded the load during the national convention devoted to these abuses, Friday in Paris.

“Our system has been faulted for too long, on all levels. Do not wait, act now, with total mobilization, without concession. (…) Act quickly and hard,” urged Roxana Maracineanu, after opening the day with extracts from victims’ testimonies, “crude, violent words, that it is time to hear, finally.”

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“Performing or having even more licensees can no longer be the only priority of the sports movement, the first (…) must be to ensure (the) security, physical and moral” of the children, she insisted. “Now that the floor is free (…), French sport must act in the same movement,” called the minister.

“We must make these trials a salutary start,” she insisted, thanking the victims who have testified in recent weeks for having “opened our eyes” and “our ears”.

Progressive control of volunteers

Presented as a “time of information and mobilization” by the ministry, before a phase of collective reflection which will lead to a roadmap “during May”, the event was however an opportunity to present initial measures.

Roxana Maracineanu first confirmed that she “intends to generalize the honorability check of volunteers to all federations”. However, the extension of this device intended to check their criminal record will pass through an intermediate stage: its extension to the French Football Federation (FFF), she announced, without specifying a timetable. “With two million licensees, that will give us a good indicator of how it can happen,” said the minister.

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At this stage, this control is systematic only for professional educators. For volunteers, an experiment has been carried out since the start of the new school year in the Center-Val de Loire regional football league. Ultimately, nearly two million sports volunteers (educators and managers) would be affected.

Roxana Maracineanu also announced the appointment of a ministerial delegate responsible for combating violence in sport, Fabienne Bourdais, from the general inspection.

As for the listening unit set up within the ministry’s services for several months, its staff will increase from three dedicated people to six.

Message to federations

The Minister of Sports took advantage of this day of exchanges which brought together several hundred actors from the world of sport and the associative fabric to send a clear message to the federations and their presidents, in particular to those who dried it ( eleven presidents of Olympic federations were present).

“The presidents who were not there for X or Y reason, I hope they will be there tomorrow,” she said. “It is not a problem of women, it is a problem of authorities, and of high authorities.”

With the approach of the federal elections, which will follow the Olympic Games-2020, Roxana Maracineanu urged the future candidates to make the fight against sexual violence a central theme of their project.

In the morning, the assembly experienced a strong moment when the former figure skating champion Sarah Abitbol, ​​spoke.

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His book (Such a long silence, Plon) published in late January, in which she denounced the rapes committed by her ex-trainer Gilles Beyer when she was a teenager in the early 1990s, marked the starting point for an accumulation of revelations from other cases.

“I never imagined speaking without shame. Shame turns into pride, this is my greatest victory, my Olympic gold medal,” she congratulated herself with emotion, before receiving a long standing ovation.

Since Sarah Abitbol and other former skaters broke the silence three weeks ago, the testimonies of victims have multiplied, in different sports: football, horse riding, climbing, skiing and even athletics.

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