Other sports, Dunkirk – Michel Delebarre, sport through the political prism

The former mayor of Dunkirk Michel Delebarre passed away on Saturday. As president of the Municipal Community he had done a lot for the sport of Dunkirk.

A French Basketball Cup victory for the BCM in 2005 with the two-week As bonus, a French Handball Cup for the USDK in 2011 embellished with a League cup in 2013, clubs in the elite, ie the BCM and USDK, but also Dunkirk in hockey, Dunkirk in volleyball, French cups for Jean Bart, the gym club. The northern city has always radiated sport. And it’s probably no coincidence that his best hours occurred under Michel Delebarre’s tenure.

The former Secretary of State has always invested in this area. And if he wasn’t a sports expert in the technical sense of the word, he was the one who mastered the big files. For a long time, there was no vice president at the CUD in charge of sports. No, the boss of sports in Dunkirk, it was him.

With sometimes powerful decisions, such as merging the clubs of Gravelines and Dunkirk in basketball in 2002, the BCM becomes a community team. The Gravelinoise training enters a new dimension economically and sportingly. The mayor often sat at the table when drawing major players. As he approached the USDK, Jérôme Fernandez, then handster and captain of the French team, told our Phare Dunkerque colleagues: “We agree with Mr. Delebarre on everything”. He had also placed family members at the head of these teams, such as the late Nicolas Bernard, president of the USDK from 1990 to 2010.

The Arena, this project that might cost him his place…

A man of networks, his relationships have made it possible to offer beautiful images, events that mark. The Tour de France in 2001, matches of the French basketball, handball and volleyball teams during the “2012, the biggest playground” program. Dunkirk had proclaimed itself the back base of the London Olympics, hosting numerous French and foreign delegations.

The sporting face of Dunkirk is changing today, a new stadium, a new ice rink, soon a new Sportica, probably a new hall for handball. The years of Michel Delebarre will probably not have marked the city in terms of equipment, a certain delay in the twilight of his reign. Despite everything, don’t forget the renovation of the Dewerdt hall in the late 1990s, which allowed Dunkerque to host the World Handball Championship in 2001. He had supported the creation of a nearly 10,000-seat Arena during his last term. A project that will undoubtedly lead to its downfall. A project was halted after its defeat during the 2014 municipal campaign.

Many associations have benefited from the Prime Minister’s generosity in terms of subsidies, mass sport has developed between 1989 and 2014. It is no coincidence that in 2002 Dunkirk won the challenge of the most sporty city team in France.