Stopped for four months, the women’s D2 clubs want to be heard by the authorities. Supported by the amateur clubs of the first division within a collective, they demand the resumption of the championships and the Coupe de France.
What is the difference between the second division of women’s football (D2F) and basketball? Although they play indoors, the basketball players have resumed competition since November 21. The D2F footballers, they are at a standstill due to the health crisis. A situation which begins to weigh on the clubs, especially as among men, the first three levels (Ligue 1, Ligue 2 and National) have never been stopped.
Resentment peaks when it comes to looking beyond borders. “Among our Spanish, Italian and English female D2 neighbors have never stopped“, denounces the press release published by a group of 14 clubs.
In addition to the basketball players, the second division handball players also resumed competition on January 18. One more misunderstanding for Fabrice Rolland, Director General of US Saint-Malo. “We are waiting for explanations. We had discussions with the Federation and the Amateur Football League. The first answer was ‘The state does not want the championship to resume’. But we didn’t get a really clear answer. When we saw handball resume after strong action by clubs with the Handball Federation, then the Ministry of Sports, we wondered about the Federation’s full motivation to defend the case. “
For the signatory clubs, the explanation is obvious. In terms of equity between sports or gender equality, “French football is late “. This is the observation made by Fabrice Rolland: “There are 24 clubs in the second division including 13 clubs backed by professional male structures and 11 amateur clubs. But in these 11 clubs, there are a lot of disparities. At US Saint Malo, we were able to continue training thanks to to ministerial decrees, to players under employment contracts or to those who had the status of high level players. Other colleagues are in different situations. They do not have players under contract or with high status level but also less tolerant communities and prefectures. So, they are at a standstill. ”
At the Stade Brestois, training was also able to continue, but the competitions remain at a standstill: “For us more competition. For some 100% amateur clubs, more training, no possible exemption following the curfew. While we, as we are a professional club and have certain federal contracts, we were able to continued to train during confinement and today, after the curfew hours, under certification of course. ” explained the president of the Stade Brestois association, Daniel Le Roux. A clear finding in terms of equity: “It is obvious that for a club which does not have the right to train and a club which can train, that makes a difference, for sure.” he added.
Despite the amateur status, the D2F had no less than four to eight training sessions per week in normal times. A real lack that will be widely felt by the players. For Fabrice Rolland, the D2 is part of the high level: “Within Division 2, the high level criterion is indisputable. From the moment you are at the second national level, it has to be recognized as high level. To see D2 not considered a high level sport, it is ‘is unthinkable. ”
In addition, in some clubs there are “French and foreign internationals, some of which are preparing for the Tokyo Olympics.” And many players, now international, have gone through the D2F before reaching the highest level of women’s football. It is therefore incomprehension for all these clubs which still cannot resume the championship despite proposals for strict protocols. “We have already made a request for the championship to resume under the same protocol as that of the D1 Women, namely PCR test three days before and saliva test on the day of the match.” asserted Daniel Le Roux.
In their press release, the 14 clubs have made an exhaustive list of their requests, which relate to the future of clubs, players and also women’s football. Among those, “The formalization of the ‘high level competition’ classification of the D2F Championship.”
To this request was added “the concerted resumption of the D2F Championship as soon as possible” but also “the resumption of the Women’s French Cup.” The press release concluded with a final request, concerning the “compliance with the financial commitments of the FFF made with the D2F and D1F clubs.”