For the president of the Nîmes Rugby club, “it is not possible to have a sports club disconnected from societal issues”

For the president of the Nîmes Rugby club, “it is not possible to have a sports club disconnected from societal issues”

Le président du RCN, Steeve Calligaro, évoque l’importance de l’investissement sociétal des clubs sportifs. Midi Libre – MiKAEL ANISSET

The president of the Nîmes Rugby club, Steeve Calligaro, discusses the societal dimension of sports clubs today.

Where did the project for a rugby village in the sensitive areas of Nîmes come from??

The report of astonishment that we made when we took over the club is that in Nîmes, there are 300 rugby enthusiasts, even 500. If we want to be ambitious for our club, we need to "cast wide" and that seeing a match at Kaufmann becomes a spectacle, a family experience. But it also concerns a development: two and a half years ago, we bought the adjoining brewery, we created an SA, then an SAS in November 2023. Which allowed us to open the capital to small holders from Nîmes up to 75%. While creating the Rugby Cœur Nîmes endowment fund. It enables us to hold thematic days as well as respond to calls for projects. As with the rugby village and the prefecture. We sometimes find ourselves confronted with the reality of children who don't even have bus lines that connect them to the stadium… hellip; So it’s us who come to them. And it’s an initiative that is set to last, because the prefecture is considering installing rugby villages as part of the restructuring of industrial wastelands, while the work takes place.

Getting involved in society is increasingly common, even essential, in the world of sport.

It is not possible today to have a sports club disconnected from societal issues. We have business models that are based on private partnerships, the creation of our own resources, but also public money. When we receive more than 500,000 euros; on the part of a town hall, we still feel a little indebted…hellip; In fact, a club in a city has a societal dimension and must be present in city events. We are not only progressing a club towards professionalism, we are spreading the values ​​of this sport, the only collective combat sport but where respect for others and for the referee are protected and where it is impossible to score a try other than through the collective. And in its sensitive neighborhoods, there is a revanchist energy that fits perfectly with combat sports, where you can have a sort of organized release.

Today, where is the RCN club?

There are three pillars in the club's project: rugby, thriving on the DNA of our sport; our network of partners, with 315 companies, a network that we run like a business network with breakfasts, afterworks, meetings. And we have the societal aspect. I grew up with a club from Nîmes which was in the Top 16, which was fully involved in its city. Then it was downgraded, as is often the case in medium-sized cities. Today, we are in Nationale 2, with a reasonable ambition of National. For three years, we have been writing a new story, necessarily rejuvenated, in terms of communication and marketing: we have doubled the budget (2.8 M&Euro; today, Editor's note).

A challenge especially since culturally, we are not in a rugby city. It’s a land of football, very far ahead, a little handball – and again, when it wins – , but there are almost no little Nîmes children who have had a ball in their hands. Rugby is not offered in school or social environments, often because it requires infrastructure, gestures that sometimes scare people. This is why forms of rugby are developing, like touch rugby, which can infuse. Always with the desire to be inclusive.

You have launched an initiative to open capital to individuals, like Real Madrid in Spain. Where is the project??

We are in the process of raising funds and the first general meeting will take place on May 3. Today there are 102 small holders who have purchased 75% of the SAS. The general assembly will be constitutive, with an office and a member who will be part of the management committee. So it’s well underway. There is now a whole universe around the club which would allow it to move up to National, or even Pro D2. All that's missing is oil!

The next rugby villages will be held on April 24 in Pissevin, at the Espace Vergnole; May 8 at Mas de Mingue; at Nemausus, route d’Arles on June 5; at the Espace Vergnole on June 19 and June 26 at a location to be defined. 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)