Europe 1 with AFP // Photo credit: Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP 15:19 p.m., September 21, 2023, modified at 15:19 p.m., September 21, 2023Launched three months ago by the ecologist deputy Sabrina Sebaihi, the parliamentary commission of inquiry into dysfunctions in sports federations is beginning to make some executives of French sport cringe, including the new president of the French Olympic Committee, David Lappartient. The latter denounces in a letter "outrageous accusations".
Launched three months ago, the parliamentary commission of inquiry into dysfunctions in sports federations seems to bother some executives of French sport, including the new president of the Olympic Committee (CNOSF) David Lappartient, who denounced in a letter "outrageous accusations". French sport seems decidedly subscribed to crises. After football, rugby, gym, or the CNOSF, a new front opened 10 months before the Olympics, on a more political field this time.
Barely elected to the presidency of the CNOSF on June 29, David Lappartient decided to cross swords with this commission of inquiry, initiated by the ecologist deputy Sabrina Sebaihi of Hauts-de-Seine.
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"It disturbs that we come to touch an established system"
In a letter dated July 19 revealed Thursday by Le Monde that AFP was able to consult, and addressed to Sabrina Sebaihi, the elected Breton, also a member of the IOC, said he was "surprised" by the description of the sports world as "a terribly opaque environment" by the said commission. Evoking during the various hearings of "caricatured representations", David Lappartient denounces "outrageous accusations", and wonders about "the objectives", "on the exact purposes" of the commission launched "400 days before the opening of the Olympic Games in Paris". "This is a new blow that you are dealing to the French sports model," he said.
A frontal attack that the ecologist MP has little taste. "It is very problematic that David Lappartient questions the work of parliamentarians. It's as if the image of the Olympics was more important," she told AFP. "This is the first time that the very principle of a commission of inquiry has been challenged, it is more than lobbies that are set in motion, I find it totally undemocratic." "Maybe it bothers that we come to touch a system that has been in place for years. If the only answer is everything is fine in the best of worlds or we have already put things in place, it is not okay, "she says.
A platform for reporting violence in sport
Since the launch of the work of this commission, many testimonies on cases of sexual violence in sport, but also on serious governance problems have been heard. According to Sabrina Sebaihi, all these testimonies contribute to depicting a sporting world "living in a vacuum". With the president of the commission Béatrice Bellamy (Horizons, Vendée), she launched on 13 September a platform for reporting violence in sport called "Balance your sport".
An initiative immediately criticized by the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who reacted on France Culture three days later by stressing "that only one platform" existed to "collect reports of violence, including gender-based violence, it is called Signal-Sports". Set up by the Ministry of Sports in 2020, this cell has received more than 1,000 reports according to the director of sports Fabienne Bourdais, figures given during her hearing by the commission of inquiry.
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"The launch of a new reporting platform can lead to confusion and loss of reports," said a source close to the sports movement.
"An environment that tenses up and fears a bad image"
Sabrina Sebaihi says she has already received a "hundred testimonies" on the new platform, "some that the federations do not want to hear". "The Signal-Sports cell exists, but athletes are not aware of it," she said. Le Monde also reported Thursday a letter sent by the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) Philippe Diallo to the president of the National Assembly Yaël Braun-Pivet (Renaissance), to complain about the hearing of the journalist influencer Romain Molina.
The president of the 3F is offended by the "content of the hearing (...) seriously implicating [his] employees, managers and volunteers", denouncing "false and insulting" remarks. "There is a build-up of pressure from an environment that is tense and fears a bad image. This will not prevent us from carrying out our parliamentary work independently and transparently," said MP Béatrice Bellamy, a member of the presidential majority. The commission is expected to complete its work by the end of the year.