Since Friday and the press release published at the end of the office of the LNR which no longer calls for new general elections to the Federation, many Top 14 and Pro D2 presidents have expressed their incomprehension, not to say their anger. About twenty of them also met on Sunday evening, for an hour, by video. Everyone is waiting for explanations from René Bouscatel, this Monday evening and Tuesday, on the sidelines of the steering committee. Among them, the Bayonnais Philippe Tayeb who confided at length, by telephone, to L’Équipe this Monday morning.
“What did you think when you read the press release published by the LNR on Friday after the office was held?
I found it by email. What surprised me a lot was the content and above all the position taken by the office without consulting the presidents. It goes to the antithesis of what was said at the start of a presidency where there was going to be a certain form of consultation, unity and unity. It is nevertheless a strong press release which involves all the presidents of professional clubs. December’s position is very clear. But it is necessary to return to the voters of the amateur world what they asked for, that is to say an election and to line up behind the ministerial position. It is embarrassing as this press release would endorse the opposite of what the Minister of Sports (Amélie Oudéa-Castéra) wants. It’s unfortunate.
“We were not asked for our opinion. That’s what bothers me.”
This press release seems very different from the one written a week earlier…
Yes, he is very different, first of all in words. I repeat, the office wrote in the name of all these presidents, without being consulted. We were not asked for our opinion. That’s what bothers me. We have since exchanged with many presidents of Top 14 and Pro D2, we spoke. Everyone is unanimous: we must bend to the will of the presidents of associations who voted mostly no in the referendum, which meant a new general election. It seems normal to me. If the NRL has to take tomorrow (Tuesday) another decision to ensure the security and stability of French rugby during the World Cup, it must be done collectively.
You just held a meeting on Sunday evening between club presidents. What was the content?
We talked for an hour to get everyone’s position. And this goes to the first press release, made in December, with a majority desire to have new elections and also that of the minister. We have to look at what people have decided. If new considerations need to be incorporated, it is with club membership.
Can we say that two camps oppose each other among the presidents?
No, we must not believe in an opposition or a split in the League. We must all work together. There is no malaise in the League. I think it’s more of a clumsiness, but the problem is that you communicated without consulting us.
“Whether or not they are close to Bernard Laporte, like others, that’s personal. We must not enter into this type of debate. René and Didier must consult us for this kind of decision “
Concretely, how will these requests for explanations translate?
Two spokespersons, members of the steering committee, will ask today (Monday) a form of explanation to René (Bouscatel) to find out how the office drafted this press release without consultation. The general assembly is sovereign, René Bouscatel is the representative of the League. But there must be consultations on such decisions, as announced during the campaign for the presidency of the League. René Bouscatel was elected (in March 2021) and we respect this election. René is diplomatic and intelligent enough to understand that there is a need to bring together his presidents and give them explanations. We are now seven months away from the World Cup. Everyone is watching the interest of the France team. Things need to be smoothed out to get back on a good footing.
Some believe that René Bouscatel and Didier Lacroix, closer to Bernard Laporte, would be more cautious in the office vis-à-vis the FFR. What is your analysis?
They represent the presidents of Top 14 and Pro D2. Whether or not they are close to Bernard Laporte, like others, that’s personal. We must not enter into this type of debate. René and Didier must consult us for this kind of decision. We are just asking for a form of legitimacy in writings and press releases. The will of the presidents of the amateur clubs was not to validate the candidacy of Patrick Buisson (for the position of deputy president of the FFR). From there, the minister set conditions by explaining that we must start again with federal elections, but the steering committee of the Federation did the opposite.
A form of ethics must be respected, otherwise it is useless to make people vote. It’s just a form of democracy that we must respect, but also listening to the words of our amateur clubs. The LNR had resigned from the steering committee of the FFR and adheres to the option of new elections recommended by the minister to put an end to the disorder. If the LNR must have an evolving position on such a major subject, it is after consultation with the clubs. »
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