It’s a sea serpent, for months many sports disciplines in Alsace have been wanting to create or recreate regional competitions and get out of the Grand Est configuration. In October 2021, Roxana Maracineanu declared herself in favor of it. It is the turn of the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, to support the approach.
This is a letter dated 22 February 2022 addressed to the sports collective for Alsace. Signed by the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, it supports the process of creating Alsace leagues issued by certain disciplines such as tennis, football or handball.
In this letter, the Head of State specifies in particular: “after asking the Minister of Sport to organize shortly a consultation with the sports federations, in order to facilitate the deployment of the Alsace competitions.”
Support following the creation of a collective in the spring of 2021 and the bringing together of nine chairmen of sports committees:The presidents of the football, rugby, handball, athletics, savate French boxing and aikido committees then joined those of tennis in their desire to emancipate from the Grand Est League, founded in 2016.
On the part of the irreducible Alsatians, this presidential support is clearly providential. “We have all the cards in our hands to convince the president of the FFF, the vote of Emmanuel Macron will allow us to claim the creation of our league of Alsace”reacts optimistically, Michel Aucourt, president of the Alsace district of football.
“We don’t see why a federation should not respect a presidential will. Our aim is to develop tennis, not to pit ourselves against the federation, we hope to create a dialogue”explains Stéphane Thomann, chairman of the Haut-Rhin tennis committee. We’re not saying the Grand Est didn’t perform the best, just the size of the Grand Est isn’t the size adapted to the sport.”
Something to delight Bruno Fuchs, LREM deputy and who carries the voice of the collective in the National Assembly. “For me, the letter from the President of the Republic is decisive. On the one hand, you have the clubs that voted 90% for the departure of the Grand Est and on the other hand, a political force at the highest level that says: go forward’, so it’s about enforcing democracy”.
In addition, as soon as Emmanuel Macron’s letter was published, the 14 LR and UDI parliamentarians responded in a press release recalling that “We have been fighting for months and we are calling on the government, together with the President of the European Community of Alsace, Frédéric Bierry, and the Collectif Sportif pour l’Alsace, to organize Alsatian competitions for the departmental sports committees of Alsace that want it. to target. “
The creation of this collective already made a lot of noise when it was founded, so it received a lot of political support, even that of the Minister of Sports, Roxana Maracineanu last October. “The sports code states that the federations have the possibility to request a derogation from the Ministry so that their territorial organization does not correspond to that of the decentralized bodies of the Ministry. So no new decrees are needed. I confirm it to your request from a motivated and motivated federation can give rise to a deviation” then the minister recalled.
Except that it is a reminder of the framework of the NOTRe law passed in the summer of 2015 which redraws the French regions and the sporting code. The possibility to create Alsatian leagues within the Grand Est federations exists, but the process has yet to be validated by the said federations. And this is where the shoe pinches.
It is the federations that have the power and no one wants to hear about the creation of these Alsatian leagues. No more in tennis than in football or handball. “The FFF has been very clear, it is not for the creation of an Alsace league”explains Stéphane Heili, Director of Communications and Development at the Grand Est football league. There is no question of disrupting the established order, that would be opening Pandora’s box. It’s been six years since we set up the great regional federal structures, we can’t unravel everything.”
Same story on the handball side. “For the federation it is very clear, the split is not possible. At best, an Alsace committee can be set up in the bosom of the Grand Est, but that’s all. Besides handball, there is no worry about traveling far for the matches, the divisions remained identical to what was done before. I’ll tell you, I think it’s an unorthodox step to take us hostage to decide what the Alsace could be.”reacts rather irritated, Jean-Marie Noël, president of the Grand Est handball competition.
The independence tendencies of certain departmental sports committees are, of course, bolstered by the backing of the president. The fact remains that they still do not find an echo within the federations.