when the Biarritz Olympique Association suppresses the women’s section, guilty of supporting Aldigé

The president of the amateur sector of Biarritz Olympique, David Couzinet, has decided to end the women’s team. A low revenge according to those concerned.

We received a big blow to the back of the head. We don’t know what we will do next year. We have to find financing, infrastructure … We will see how we can recover …By phone, Florian Mercader tries to keep calm. It is not carried away. Don’t panic. However, he would have the right to yield to one or the other. This oval ball fan has not counted these hours to promote women’s rugby for almost ten years. She started in 2013 by creating a women’s section at her beach volleyball club. Before founding a club a year later (FAR, Féminines Athlétiques Rugby), then joining the Biarritz Olympique association in July 2018. Always with the same ambition: to allow girls to practice their favorite sport.

So when, last Wednesday, he was quoted by David Couzinet, the president of the BO fan association, the blow was hard. “He announced to me the abolition of the women’s section. Earlier, the next day in the press, specify that he finally stayed with the youngest, that is, twelve fired.The motive for this murder? “He first stated that he no longer had a budget. Before reproaching us for being too close to the professional section (the BOPB, chaired by Jean-Baptiste Aldigé with whom David Couzinet, president of the amateur party, has been in conflict since his election in December 2021, Ed). He told us that we were not faithful to the Association and therefore it was no longer possible. The girls voted against her project, then in favor of convening the General Assembly to replace it. It is obviously a penalty. He expels us for it“, thunders Florian Mercadier. The defendant defended himself weakly in the local press:they are closer to the professional section. Somewhere, they took sides …»

As a result of this clearance of accounts, “70 girls plus fifteen staff members are expelled. That’s 85 fewer licenses in the next GA. That’s how it’s safe to go“, Makes a grimace now the former head of the Women’s Rugby Pole of the BO, whose first team plays in Federal 2 (4th women’s division). The captain of the ” BOtés ” is higher. When Élodie Rousseau answers Le Figaro’s questions, we understand by the tone of her voice that anger is there. “We pay in cash the fact that we agree with the professional part. But the president of the professional sector has always supported us, unlike the association that has always forgotten us, leaves aside. When the new management arrived, they made big announcements, promises. They said they wanted to get together. They just split up. And they don’t accept that we get along well with the BOPB.»

“We are the only section of the BO that does not have employees. We are all volunteers. It is certainly our passion, but we are entitled to a minimum of respect. »

Florian Mercader

And the young woman to regret the “lack of considerationof the running team towards their partners and them. “We have never had any recognition. I’m no more surprised than that, it was so bad. We reached the regional semifinals, competed in the qualifiers for the French championship and we never received a message of support, of congratulations. By January, six of us had gotten a date, we had exposed them to our many problems. Nothing has changed. The proof that Couzinet didn’t care, in the end, asked us if we were playing rugby at 10. He hadn’t heard us. He hadn’t even been interested in us since our first season at 15 started six months ago …»

Florian Mercader gives some concrete examples of this lack of interest. “During his election David Couzinet had assured all media that he would do everything for the girls. Specifically, we have a weight room that we didn’t have before. For the rest … We never had access to the living room, or the video room. We are the only section that does not have the keys. He promised us a physiotherapist and a doctor for Monday evening training. A promise never fulfilled. The t-shirt game? It arrived in March! With only 3 shorts in size S and everything else in L, XL or XXL. But most girls wear S and M. However, one of the players had found a sponsor who had given 500 euros to wear her logo on our shorts. The check, they took it. And when the girls pointed out to him that they weren’t the right size, he replied that they could roll them up … For our last game of the season, he didn’t clear the field for us. Luckily the BOPB allowed us to play at the Aguilera field of honor …»

The coach laments his daughters, who suffer disrepute in this way. “When we pointed out to her that she was very rarely present at women’s parties, she dared to answer us. ” Understand me, I have a family life and a professional life … ” To players who take days off to play and train! We are the only section of the BO that has no employees. We are all volunteers. It is certainly our passion, but we are entitled to a minimum of respect.He pauses. Before you let go of what you have in your head. “In the press, Couzinet said “We will finally stay with the cadets to help them practice our sport.” Our sport? In fact, it is totally misogynistic.»«It bothers him that women are against his ideas, adds Élodie Rousseau. In early April he was outraged that we had signed the AG call. But we are not in kindergarten!»

“Saying goodbye is, in short, a force they give us: to show them that we are worth more than they think. »

Élodie Rousseau, captain of the ” BOtés ”

What about the future of the “BOtés”? David Couzinet evoked a nebula “reorientation of structures“. In other words that is? “I do not know, recognizes Florian Mercader. She has also said that the women’s section will be professionalized in two or three years. I do not know this measure. He’s just trying to cover himself. He also says we will be back at the FAR, which I created in 2014. But the club has been asleep since we joined the BO in 2018. There are no more licenses. And, although we relaunch the FAR, we will have to find funding, land, locker rooms, a stadium for the match days … Fortunately, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine league has promised us that it will not disappoint us. You can’t believe what’s happening to us.»

The future is blurred. “The girls are upset, sad, but motivated. Then, according to the sequence of events, will they continue like this? It is double or ceases to be. Or we come out much stronger managing ourselves; or we put the key under the door.His captain’s determination will no doubt reassure him. “I am waiting for Mr. Couzinet to summon us, for him to have the courage to explain his decision face to face. Everything we’ve done, they throw in the trash. At that time we were surprised but we will fight. They will not destroy everything we have built. This struggle unites us even more. We are all together, behind the staff. We will all be there and go all the way! Saying goodbye is ultimately a force they give us: to show them that we are worth more than they think.»

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