The war in Ukraine has monopolized many nationals in France for days. But even before the outbreak of this international crisis that inevitably stifled political debate, sport seemed to have had no place, however small, in these presidential elections.
“There are few topics at the heart of the national debate today, apart from the issue of Ukraine. We could have expected them to be a problem two years after the Olympics, but they aren’t.explains the director of the polling station Harris-Interactive, Jean-Daniel Lévy.
“Sport has its place”
But is it really new? ” No. Sport has been missing from the political debate for years”, regrets Lionel Jospin’s former Sports Minister, Marie-George Buffet (PCF). A statement also pointed out by the chief of the French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) Brigitte Henriques, as: ” too often “ sports is “a minor theme of the presidential campaign”in a gallery in the World end of February.
In recent years, the themes have often revolved around safety or the economy. Public policy issues in sports have never surfaced.
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“The sporting dimension is little discussed two years before the Olympics, that’s true, but is it so abnormal? †asks Jean-François Lamour, former Minister of Sport under Jacques Chirac, nevertheless given that “sport has always found a place”†
“Are the French telling us today that sport is a topic that is missing in the countryside? no “assures the director of the Harris-Interactive Institute Jean-Daniel Lévy, a reading that is contradicted by a recent BVA survey, for which almost a third of the French would like sport to become a campaign theme.
However, in the programs of the twelve candidates, a few lines appear here and there, with huge differences, the candidate LR Valérie Pécresse and the candidate of the Greens Yannick Jadot stand out from the others with more substantial proposals.
At his first campaign rally in Poissy, Emmanuel Macron mentioned the generalization of 30 minutes of physical activity in school for 6-12 year olds at the start of the next school year, a system that has been tested for two years.
“There are two topics today, about the future of the National Sports Agency (YEARS)whose contours are hard to see today, and the sporting reality at school”says Lamour.
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If, in the microcosm, the question of the future of the ANS, which Valérie Pécresse wants to see disappear, for example, or of its corollary, that of the survival of a Ministry of Sport, can give rise to discussion, these questions interest the large audience according to most of the actors interviewed by AFP. “Too technical”Lamour summarizes.
“Sport was the paragraph you added at the end of a program”
The ANS, founded in 2019, benefits from the appropriations previously transferred to the Ministry of Sport and is responsible for implementing the high-level policy and that of sport for all.
“The problem is that if we follow this line of reasoning, we shouldn’t talk about culture, research or justice either, because it’s not in the priorities of the French.”annoyed Marie-George Buffet.
“A lot of times we thought that sport was the paragraph we add at the end of a program. But with the Olympics, we should have aligned the planets. Here we are in the money time”, summarizes Régis Juanico, Deputy Generations. s, member of Yannick Jadot’s campaign team.
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The candidates were invited on Thursday by several representatives of French sport to present their program at the headquarters of the CNOSF. An exercise to which only Valérie Pécresse, Yannick Jadot, Fabien Roussel and Anne Hidalgo have responded for the time being.
“It is very thin and says a lot about the place of sport in society”, regrets an elected official. Except that this exercise will hit another oral, slightly more anticipated Thursday, that of Emmanuel Macron, who will present his project for a second five-year term.