Match for Green: the delicate transition of the world of sport towards an eco-responsible model

A new match begins for Arnaud Gandais. But this one does not argue either on a handball court – he was a coach and then leader of Paris 92 players for 15 years – or on a volleyball court. This match is almost a personal fight for the current general manager of Paris Volley. Concerned by the environmental and ecological cause for years, this father of three children officially launched his association Match for Green on Monday. Roxana Maracineanu, the Minister for Sports, should be present for this baptism of fire and to support this cause.

The idea is as simple as it is innovative. “I consider that a professional club is not limited to a sporting dimension, but has a role and a usefulness in society, explains Gandais, 43 years old. We wondered, when we were confined to our home last spring, what we could do. In sport there is a charter of eco-responsible events, but no one knows it. After discussion with the Ministry of Sports and that of Ecological Transition, we realized that it was important to explain things. We therefore decided to create an association to support and train clubs. “

And the demand is strong. Since arriving at Paris Volleyball last year, Gandais has changed the lines and implemented a new, more virtuous “green” policy. “We have already reduced our carbon footprint, but we hope that it will be neutral quickly,” explains the manager. We are thinking about developing green energies for player accommodation, how to supply electricity needs on match days. We will be the first club to have a 100% eco-designed policy. Each year we have jerseys, equipment, which remain stored in boxes. The idea is to give these products a second life. “

During the offseason, during an internship, the Paris Volley players took part in picking up rubbish and cigarette ends on the beach./DR

An approach that initially aroused the interest of many volleyball clubs and then, more broadly, of the world of sport. This Monday, the first promotion will concern 25 clubs. All will be at a distance. Each training consists of 68 hours of lessons and is spread over one year. There will be two promotions per year “so that a club that wakes up in March does not wait several months”.

“The clubs have an initial assessment to see where their level of eco-responsible practice is and afterwards they have the choice between six modules: mobility, selective sorting, zero waste policies, food and biodiversity, construction and infrastructure, and on inclusive practices and solidarity, explains Gandais. For the building, for example, we will explain how you can have a virtuous practice through construction, insulation, the use of LEDs. There is also everything to review on the policy around water. Today almost no stadium recycles rainwater to water the lawns. It is not normal. “

If the majority of these pioneer clubs come from Ile-de-France, there are also representatives from Occitanie, Provence, Normandy and even Belgium. There are departmental level clubs (Orsay swimming), but also professionals (Ivry or Massy handball). The cost of membership depends on the level of the best team in the club. It starts at 90 euros for a departmental club, 180 euros for a regional club, 270 euros for a national club and 400 euros for a pro club. This covers interventions by freelance experts and e-learning courses.

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“The challenge is not to go to clubs that can afford audits at 10,000 euros,” explains Gandais. We discuss with football clubs (Dijon, Lens), rugby as well as with D1 handball and volleyball clubs which do not have an economic model that allows them to invest in an audit but who want to to do things. At the end of the year, they receive a label validated by Ademe (the Ecological Transition Agency). The clubs will save money and it is good for their image. It’s easier to find partners then, because you have real expertise. “

Each promotion will be sponsored by a top athlete. The first is international basketball player Sarah Michel. “When we talk about eco-responsibility, we also talk about parity, it makes sense to launch the adventure with a woman, says Gandais. She will intervene at each session. We want to create a virtuous movement. Our objective is to form, from 2022, 500 clubs per year. The match has only just begun.

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