Covid-19: how the 6 p.m. curfew is shaking up amateur sport

The weathered wooden floor creaks under the comings and goings of teenagers. “It’s the first time we’ve set foot here,” smiles Sarah Kruszinski. A few minutes earlier, the manager repatriated the balls from the room where the teams of the Epernay basketball club (Marne) which she chairs most often meet. “We adapt, the goal is that everyone can have a training”, she blurted out running to shelter the studs from the rain which fell on the Marne on Wednesday.

On January 2, this department was one of 15 to adopt the 6 p.m. curfew. Today, they are 25 to comply with this health measure which will affect the whole of metropolitan France from Saturday, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced Thursday. A turn of the screw to fight against the Covid-19 epidemic, but which shakes up amateur sport, already deprived of competition by the health protocol.

“The time to leave school, it prevents any possibility of training during the week except Wednesday, underlines Christophe Cannat, trainer of the table tennis players of the Olympique Rémois. I had to turn the whole schedule upside down to try to get everyone to come on Wednesday. “

Problem, some practitioners are blocked by their high school classes or other extracurricular activities. The club, which has already lost more than 15% of its licensees this summer, has seen its sessions empty. “A year ago, I saw 100 people in training, continues Christophe Cannat. There, we are between 40 and 50 … “

“It changes everything in the life of a club”

“We make sure that the children can have another training on weekends, we will say that this is what replaces the matches,” describes Benjamin Phez, head of the football school in Taissy, in the suburbs of Reims. An 8pm curfew is racing, but it is manageable. 6 pm changes everything in the life of a club. “

In Reims, the 6 p.m. curfew resulted in a drop in attendance at the table tennis club’s training sessions./LP/Arnaud Dumontier

In the cities concerned, associations which share rooms compete for the best slots. “I am bombarded with phone calls from clubs that tell me that they are disadvantaged by putting them at 4 pm rather than 2 pm, describes an elected representative from the Alpes-Maritimes. The volunteers tear each other apart, it’s hell. “

Who says curfew at 6 pm, says stop of the session at 5:30 pm, or even earlier for the most distant practitioners. “We calculated the journey time of all U13s that are on the last Wednesday slot so that everyone got home on time,” says Sarah Kruszinski. “I always stay the last to make sure that everyone is on the right track and won’t be outside after 6 pm,” continues Christophe Cannat. It makes me come back a little after the start of the curfew, but let’s say that I avoid the roundabout where the gendarmes are (laughs). »

“It hurts our associations even more”

Within clubs, managers and volunteers are worried about the consequences of this additional constraint on the motivation of their licensees, already deprived of matches, forced to contactless sessions and now sometimes limited to weekly training. Thursday, Jean Castex also announced that indoor sport was also suspended. “It hurts our associations even more, laments Albert Gauvin, president of the Olympique Rémois. The medium-term consequences can be terrible on club attendance and the level of our hopes. “

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In Epernay, Sarah Kruszinski only had to deal with one family complaint, annoyed to pay the price of a license for so many restrictions. “She told me it was a bit expensive to pay just to be able to do passes once a week,” says the president. I’m afraid that will annoy others in the long term. On the floor, the teenagers are firing on each other. “I missed being able to play during confinement a bit. Shall we train on Friday Benjamin? »Slips Marius, one of the young basketball players, turning to his trainer. “No,” the latter replies. Unfortunately no. “

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