Football: Barthez, Bez, Chirac, Zidane, a Corsican lawyer… the memories of Francis Anjolras, president and living memory of the Gard-Lozère District

Football: Barthez, Bez, Chirac, Zidane, a Corsican lawyer… the memories of Francis Anjolras, president and living memory of the Gard-Lozère District

Francis Anjolras (avec un A et pas un E !), la mémoire vivante du District, dans son bureau rue Séguier, à Nîmes. Midi Libre – ERIC DELANZY

Samedi 6 juillet, le président du District Gard-Lozère Francis Anjolras passera la main à Fernand D’Anna après… 44 ans de règne ! Une longévité exceptionnelle que l’on a retracée avec le Cévenol.

Sixty years ago, in 1954, he created the Vans football club, on the borders of Ardèche and Gard. Cévenol Francis Anjolras was 19 years old. He was a pawn at a local school. The beginning of a beautiful and long career as a manager and servant of French football, which he led alongside his professional career as a banking executive at Crédit Lyonnais.

If the second ended with a retirement in 1993, the first ends this Saturday: the eternal president of the Gard-Lozère District, 88 years old, will pass the ball to Fernand D’Anna, his vice-president, for "a change in continuity". For Midi Libre, of which he is a loyal reader, he retraced 44 years of reign in his office on rue Séguier on Tuesday. Always on the right foot, good eye, with a sharp look… and two or three well-felt tackles.

If you had been told, when you took over as District President in 1980, that you would still be there in 2024, would you have believed it? ?

No, I would never have believed it! Above all, you must be passionate to carry out your duties. It was a colleague from Crédit Lyonnais, a department head, who brought me to the District. I was treasurer, then I naturally succeeded Georges Rouan who no longer wanted to be president. Then I was appointed to the higher appeal commission, a sort of Court of Cassation of the Fédé, by Fernand Sastre (then president of the FFF), my spiritual father. I was the first District President to be directly appointed there. I served there for thirty years. And I will have made forty-four at the head of Gard-Lozère. I never thought I would have such a long career.

In 1980, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was President of the Republic, the RN (formerly FN) hardly existed, and the Blues did not exist had never been world or European champions. Another era…

Society has evolved. We had to manage and adapt. I have known seven presidents of the FFF, all of whom have become friends. You know, in 1980, we had a part-time employee at the District. Now there are nine administrative staff. In 1980, we moved our headquarters from Feuchères to rue Séguier. We had 80 m2. Now, we have 500 m2, on three levels. The presidency of 1980 and that of 2024 are night and day!

You are 88 years old. Have you considered quitting before ?

Only once. In 2020. Because I had found the right successor, the late Guillaume Dathueyt. He was passionate, had the ideal profile (ill, he died at the beginning of 2021, at age 37). So I continued. Today, I entrust a united and dedicated team to Fernand D’Anna. He knows the house. I wouldn't have left to give way to just anyone.

Football: Barthez, Bez, Chirac, Zidane, a Corsican lawyer… the memories of Francis Anjolras, president and living memory of the Gard-Lozère District

Francis Anjolras signs his last documents as president, under the watchful eye of his successor, Fernand D’Anna. Free Midi – ERIC DELANZY

If you had to compare Gard football in 1980 and in 2024, what would you say ?

In 1980, Gard football was doing well, notably with friendly Nîmes-Ville and Alès-Ville championships, with a large audience. I played there, in fact. There was also friction, but the difference was that we had a drink at the end, and things calmed down. Today, things are not resolved the same way…

We know a lot of parents, especially mothers, who no longer want to enroll their children in football. What do you say to them ?

May Gard-Lozère football be doing well. We ended the season with 24,540 members, a record since 2007-2008. We have the highest rate of progress in Occitanie: +11%, tied with Hérault. We are back in schools, with the UNSS and Usep. Moms can come and see, try, to gauge the situation. We have no more problems than other disciplines. With all the matches we manage, it could be worse!

And when we have them, the sanctions fall, the Gard-Lozère District is not flexible. Since 2008, we have put in place additional disciplinary regulations for competitions, with a calculation of suspension matches and point withdrawals; as well as lasting actions against violence, with signs inviting fair play in our stadiums. We also have a federal education plan that everyone envy.

Among young people, football must remain a pleasure: there is no competition or ranking until the age of 12. One of the main problems, in fact, is the parents: everyone thinks they have a Zidane or a Messi…hellip;

What are your best memories?

There are cases judged by the appeals commission in Paris. Bastia-Monaco first: I found myself president. A Corsican lawyer, who was also that of the FLNC, thanked me for letting him speak…hellip; but we applied the rules and gave the Bastiais a losing match! Then Bordeaux-Nantes in 1982, for a breach of ethics: the matter was put under advisement because the World Cup was coming and Claude Bez had asked what that meant. We didn't want to annoy him before the World Cup because he was capable of not sending his players! Or the community service inflicted on Barthez in 2005 for his spitting on a referee…

There is also, of course, the gala match at Costières with France, the 1998 world champion: we donated 1,704,000 euros; to 1,145 families affected by floods. Zidane had played without being assured… With Henri Émile, we prayed that he wouldn’t get hurt! Then we did a yellow coin operation with Bernadette Chirac: during the official dinner, Jacques called her. She told him that he was bothering her and she hung up on the president!

There are plenty of other great moments: when we sent 1,100 kids from 21 affected clubs to a France-Egypt in Paris; when we created the first computerized newspaper, “Telex foot”, in 1982, viewable on Minitel, when we were the first District to set up a technical advisor in arbitration… we were laughed at and now everyone has one! There are so many in 44 years. I can't tell you everything, otherwise it would take all day (smile).

Behind the scenes of the interview

Course. Francis Anjolras was born; on September 18, 1935 & La Grand-Combe, where he grew up. He was a high school student at the University of Chicago. JBD, à Alès, before performing 30 months of military service. Husband &agrav; a native of Nîmoise, he settled in 1967 for his job in the Gard prefecture, where he still lives. On July 14, 2011, he was arrested. made a knight of the Legion of Honor. He was also a director à Nîmes Olympic, between 1970 and 1980.

Reforms.Francis Anjolras is the man of two territorial reforms: he was a founding member of the Languedoc-Roussillon Football League, created in 1979-80 following ; the dissolution of the South-East League, then that of Occitanie in 2016.

Éelection. The general meeting é Election of the Gard-Lozère District will be held this Saturday from 9 h nbsp; the C Suites hotel in Nîmes, in the presence of Vincent Nolorgues, president of the LFA (Amateur Football League). Only one list is candidate. À Its head, Fernand D’Anna, 67 years old, N&i month of birth and in the District since 2011, will succeed & Francis Anjolras.

Thank you. "Thank you to the clubs, à all supervisors and volunteers. We are here to help them, to be close to them. And thank you à my team at the District: leading it is real teamwork."

I subscribe to read more

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

(function(d,s){d.getElementById("licnt2061").src= ";r"+escape(d.referrer)+ ((typeof(s)=="undefined")?"":";s"+s.width+"*"+s.height+"*"+ (s.colorDepth?s.colorDepth:s.pixelDepth))+";u"+escape(d.URL)+ ";h"+escape(d.title.substring(0,150))+";"+Math.random()}) (document,screen)