“I support all projects, but not under any conditions”, the truths of Michaël Delafosse on his sports policy

“I support all projects, but not under any conditions”, the truths of Michaël Delafosse on his sports policy

Clic-clac, c'est dans la boîte. Michaël Delafosse prend un bain de foule le 13 mai, jour de l'arrivée de la flamme olympique à Montpellier. Jean-Michel Mart

Promouvoir les sports émergents, accueillir de grands rendez-vous internationaux, surfer sur l’événementiel, Michaël Delafosse veut faire basculer Montpellier dans une nouvelle ère. Mais sa politique sportive rencontre aussi la problématique des infrastructures vieillissantes.

For the record, Michaël Delafosse, 47 years old, was “initiated” to sport by his deputy at the time in the departmental elections (2015), François Lano (who passed away last year), former president of the Arceaux club, with whom he scoured all the grounds and award ceremonies in the district of Hérault. Great popular discovery for the mayor of Montpellier, more focused on culture but aware of the city's reputation in terms of sport. Not a specialist but no less passionate, Delafosse nonetheless assumes his convictions, the opportunity for him to give up, and, on the corner of the table, to talk about football.

“I support all projects, but not under any conditions”, the truths of Michaël Delafosse on his sports policy

Michaël Delafosse wants to remain faithful to the slogan “Montpellier, the largest sports city in France”. Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

His vision of sport

Why did you want the Olympic flame to pass through Montpellier ?

We did everything to have it (200,000 euros divided between Montpellier, Sète and Millau), because we are proud that France is hosting the Olympic Games. You must not stumble, you must experience the emotion. I absolutely wanted Montpellier, a city reputed to be the most sporting in France, both by the elite and by the practice, to experience this event. There was legitimacy. It was a great popular celebration, beyond our expectations. And this finale to Antigone… I wanted to pay tribute to Georges Frêche (former mayor from 1977 to 2004), with Kevin Mayer at the foot of the “Victory of Samothrace” statue. There was everything!

Do you understand the "JO bashing", fueled by social protest ?< /p>

No, for me it's almost a source of anger, because the Games are an immense honor for our country. I challenged myself to have more people practice sport , so let's not waste a second in controversy, let's mobilize. It is France that we will observe throughout the world. So, I say yes without reservation. Between the controversies on TV sets and the popular fervor which accompanied the flame, the facts contradict the traditional political games. We are also going to work on a social ticket office so that the children of the metropolis can go see the Olympics (around 300 places).

I prefer to support a sporting event than pay for major communication campaigns

Le passage of the flame made the event in the city, just like the Fise or the organization of major international competitions at the Arena (World Skating Championships artistic, judo…). Will this policy of "blows" continue ?

It’s important to have major sporting events, it puts Montpellier on the world map. We will soon host a major international table tennis tournament, as well as the European Championships. At each event, it is a boost for our clubs, and therefore to promote the practice of sport. It’s true, there are also economic benefits.

Personally, I prefer to support a sporting event than pay for major communication campaigns, because we are talking about Montpellier, it supports our hotel industry, our restaurateurs, etc. Kevin Mayer, the adventure of the Lebrun brothers, all contribute to the influence of Montpellier. Because behind sport, there are our values, Butte Paillade, the "Blue Fox"… Our country is very divided, sport plays a factor of cohesion.

Sport figures in Montpellier

– Métropole : 16.8€ approximately in operation including 8.7 million in subsidies for the 29 metropolitan clubs and 21.4 million euros; approximately in investment

– City: 3.2M€ approximately in operation including 1.3M€ grant for 120 clubs and 12.8M€ approximately in investment

300 ésports equipment.

The latest renovations:
– Renovation Palais des sports Coubertin: 6,200,000,euro;
– Skate Parc Grammont: 6,700,000,euro;
– Sabath Stadium: 1 500 000 €
– Françoise and Yves Jarrousse swimming pool 4 900 000€
– Land 3/3 Delylle: 80,000 euros
– Piscine Neptune delivery end of 2025: 22 500 000€

-Ltn Normand (with work starting at the end of 2024 and delivery of a first phase in 2025) : 3 000 000€

Are you sporty yourself, except for your participation in the Montpellier 10 km ?< /p>

In my family, the most sporty is my wife, she plays football, tennis, a lot of running. My son is a big reader of the Midi Libre sports pages. I don’t have the time, but I like it. As mayor, I try to support our clubs, go to medal ceremonies and ceremonies. I admit that I have a very strong affection for our handball team (MHB) and its supporters. I love this atmosphere at the end of the weekend, it smells of sweat, there is fervor, pride, exhausted volunteers, I love these moments!

Yes, I'm going to the stadium. You have to be sincere, behind each club, there is an ecosystem, a spirit, which I have the honor of supporting.

We know you are more focused on culture than sport. How do you view this environment after four years in office ?

We often say that France is a town hall and a bell tower, but we forgot to add a sports field, which is one of the spaces for the expression of republican fraternity. It’s also a relationship to the rule, a relationship to others. It may surprise you, but I am happy when I find myself in the sporting world. I owe a lot to a figure who is François Lano (who passed away last year), great leader of the Arceaux club, who was my substitute in the 2015 departmental elections and with whom I traveled the entire district. It enriched me enormously.

We strongly support the feminization of sport and disabled sports

Montpellier is a sports city but not a sports city. Does this mean that the electoral stakes are low ? Should we show up at the stadium ?

Yes, I'm going to the stadium. You have to be sincere, behind each club, there is an ecosystem, a spirit, which I have the honor of supporting. Take water polo and its president Spillaert, their family adventure is extraordinary. The role of a mayor is not to show off but to understand the existing environment. You must first do things because they are in the public interest. We strongly support the feminization of sport and disabled sports, we welcome the Paralympic flame, it is a valuable issue, we believe in equality.

But the mayor is also the number one supporter of our teams, and that’s important too. For example, the Barracudas (baseball) are the only ones to have won a national title. Great! They are looking for land, and I have committed to proposing plans and a schedule for the construction of a field in the same location (Greg Hamilton Baseball Park). Sometimes, the land also expresses the soul of a neighborhood.

Georges Frêche left us a lot of sports equipment that we need to renovate, because we haven't taken care of it for a long time.

The great genius of Georges Frêche was to seize decentralization. He left us a lot of sports equipment that we need to renovate, because it’s been a long time since we took care of it. Today, we enter in another era: how to support professionalization. The main challenge for metropolises is to keep up with the new trends in 21st century sport. I am thinking of the padel tennis courts which will be built at La Mosson or the Grammont skatepark, which has been the subject of a petition to be enlarged.

You were talking about feminization and disability, which are two major areas of development in sport. Concretely speaking ?

When Montpellier hosts the final of the French Women's Football Cup (PSG-Fleury), what happens?? There is an explosion of practice women's football. It’s great. We therefore decided that for any new ground, we will give slots to a club on the condition that it develops a women's section. It’s part of the specifications, very clearly.

Soon, I will sign a women's football development agreement with the president of the French Federation. We are also counting on the BLMA basketball players. Come on girls, take over the land, bring down the glass ceilings!

Come on girls, take over the land, knock down the glass ceilings!

The feminization of sport is an essential issue, like the universal practice of sport. Tony Estanguet (president of Cojo) gave us the honor of being the only city that will host the Olympic and Paralympic flame. Congratulations to the clubs which organize blind football tournaments, congratulations to the Coubertin hall. In 2019, the Hérault department made it a condition for hosting the swimming championships that disabled swimming take place at the same time. The issues are fundamental, there is a public service responsibility for sport.

The problem of stadiums/halls

Since you mentioned the problem of infrastructure, what about the situation of the MHSC, the MHR and the MHB, all of which aspire to change? ? Let's start with football…

First point: President Laurent Nicollin ensures. It’s a chance for Montpellier to have a leader like that, within a family club. He says he is ready to finance a stadium with private funds, and my commitment is yes for a private stadium. I proposed a first location on the Ode to the Sea site, then the Banque des Territoires set up the project (withdrawal of 100 million euros). We then said to ourselves that we could look at Grammont and then next to the Exhibition Center.

And if nothing is ever done, La Mosson remains a place to renovate.

So, there are three possible terrains. What we will finance is the museum. This is normal. This collection is an incredible opportunity. The economics of the project belong to them, we are very supportive. And if nothing is ever done, La Mosson remains a place to renovate.

What is your location?< /p>

What I want is for the Montpellier Hérault model to be able to remain in Ligue 1. And therefore, to find funding, the club must master its tool. Nicollin says from the beginning: "I pay for my stadium". No problem, we help him on three potential areas. Here we are.

Is the condition of a casino attached to the new stadium the sticking point?

This therefore means that we have to find another financing model. I note that in Brest the model is not based on a casino. President Nicollin suggested that the Parc-Expo was an option that interested him a lot, but there is no possibility of a casino there. I would like to point out that it is very difficult to set up a casino, it is highly regulated, the metropolis of Montpellier is not yet capable of doing so. We are not a seaside resort.

I can understand that there is some annoyance. I myself know what stubbornness is. It takes a lot to do this type of project.

Do you understand the bitterness ofs< strong> Nicollin, whose family has been working for Montpellier sport for fifty years ?

You know, I have a sentence: "The France of procedures, it kills the France of projects."& nbsp;When the Banque des Territoires commits to the tune of 100 million euros and all of a sudden, it withdraws, that highlights anger. In any case, I am very consistent. I am ready to explore all avenues. Otherwise, that will raise the question of Paillade, because the club must have its tool.

Laurent Nicollin also says that in comparison we are rolling out the red carpet for the MHB with public funds. Hence, in his eyes, a certain injustice…

Laurent Nicollin has made his choice. The problem with handball is that in Bougnol they can no longer host European competitions. If there is a new handball room, well that would allow us to reduce the public subsidy because they would be financed by reception, and therefore we would make operational savings to help others sports clubs. That’s what’s at stake. And the model of handball and football is not the same.

I can understand that there is some annoyance. I myself know what stubbornness is. It takes a lot to do this type of project.

The professional sport needs to master their tools to be able to organize seminars, do receptive… So we change the model.

What is concrete about the project d’a new room with 6,000 seats?

A job is being done, there is a need for new equipment. Moreover, today, the main investment funding in sport goes to the renovation of equipment, the Neptune swimming pool, and local clubs. We strive to finance all the small amateur clubs which play an important role in the associative life of football. For handball, therefore, the Grammont site is a site that has potential. Initially, we had 50 million euros, but with inflation… However, you have to have reasonable costs.

Professional sport needs to master its tools to be able to organize seminars, hold receptions… So we change the model. And that’s why Laurent Nicolas says he needs a private stadium.

We have made proposals several times, but we have difficulty getting a response (from Mohed Altrad).

Finally someOn the rugby and MHR side, the problem is different. Billionaire president Mohed Altrad has been hoping for years to buy the GGL Stadium and operate the square. What is the obstacle?

We have ongoing discussions on this topic. I sent a letter to President Altrad. Well, I think that at the moment he is more concerned about remaining (in the Top 14), which I hope for him. We have made proposals several times, but we have difficulty getting an answer.

It’s certain that the square is very large. But it is very important that we maintain a public space, hence the importance of discussions. There is no question for us of selling off any heritage whatsoever. I have no opposition in principle, I am only waiting for a response from President Altrad.

No regrets having abandoned the Open Sud de France tennis tournament, the most famous of the 250 ATP tournaments?

No not at all. There are other things to finance. I saw that the department had positioned itself very well, thank you to them. Today, there is a dynamic around table tennis in Montpellier. We have two extraordinary champions with the Lebrun, so he gets help from the Montpellier-Nîmes Alliance. The gymnasium (Alain Achille) in which they play is intended, in the second part of the decade, to be renovated.

We're talking about public money, we have to make choices, that's it. My priority is the sports that are emerging, we must support these athletes. Montpellier is a major team sports city. We also want to develop the question of individual sports.

We are going to build a city sytadium in the Gély city of Téji Savanier

Amateur world, health and secularism

Regarding amateur practice, what are your priorities?

With Hervé Martin (sports assistant) and Christian Assaf (in charge of sports at the Métropole), our ambition is first to renovate existing sports equipment. We signed up for the 1000 dojos plan. So we need support. We can cite the Neptune swimming pool at La Mosson for an investment of 25 million euros.

We will soon build another one in Castelnau. For ten years, the Motte-Rouge swimming pool was closed, this matter was resolved. The blue track at the Philippidès stadium was made for Kevin Mayer. We are renovating all of the city's football fields, we are going to continue with those in Grammont, we are going to build a city city-stadium in the Gély city of Téji Savanier.

The renovation of the Coubertin stadium will make it possible to welcome our futsal team which has moved up to Ligue 1 as well as the practice of handi-rugby and handi-basketball. If there is a new handball room, Bougnol will become a sports center to host French championships, to provide other slots.

My role is to ensure that there are more and more licensees.

President Macron recommended 30 minutes of sport at school per day. Sport and health closely linked…

Montpellier has the oldest medical faculty in Europe. Offering sport means increasing life expectancy, fighting against obesity and the screens which numb a large part of our society. Practicing sport is an essential alternative. It is a relationship with the collective, with the rule, with oneself, with one's body.

We have to be there. It is also a way to stem this unbearable rise in violence in society. On the pitch, when you insult, you get a red card. On the other hand, on social networks, we insult, there is no one who reminds us of the relationship with respect. Sport is codified, it provides benchmarks.

My role is to ensure that there are more and more licensees. We have set up a check for 50 euros to help with the first membership to a sports club. Politics shouldn't just be sentences. This is why we try as much as possible to be in partnership with school and PE teachers. The President of the Republic must understand that he will not be able to do anything if we weaken the municipalities or intercommunalities. I can tell you that Montpellier is one of the cities that devotes the most public money to sport.

I asked all associations to sign a charter of secularism without exemption.

What about the MedVallée project, to which sport was attached at the last minute ?

We are very attentive to startups around sports professions, with VOGO for example, which is an emblematic company. I have a scoop for you: in the second part of the decade, we will hire a sports incubator to support start-ups who want to develop an economic activity around sports professions. I also hope that it will be a source of jobs.

Last topic, if I may. Being very committed to the issue of secularism, I constantly make a demand, which is that there be no community withdrawal in sport. I therefore asked all associations to sign a charter of secularism without exception.

We must be very firm in the face of the intrusion of religion into sport. I say it to all PE teachers: we do not avoid sports teaching under the cover of religious reasons. At the start of my mandate, there were sports premises which had become prayer rooms. I am called an Islamophobe, but on this subject I will remain intransigent.

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