They have been heard. The rumor had been circulating for some time, the information was made official, this Thursday, by a press release from the FFF. Forced rest since the end of October and the implementation of the second confinement due to the health crisis, the 64 clubs of National 2 will finally be able to resume the path of competition. The leaders had been pushing in this direction for several weeks.
Pascal Bovis, president of Fleury 91, and Fabrice Rolland, general manager of US Saint-Malo, had notably launched a survey of clubs: of the 64 clubs concerned, 58 responded, and among them 87% wanted a resumption of championship.
The Coupe de France matches concerning some amateur clubs have therefore finished convincing the authorities of the merits of their request. Meeting this Thursday, the Executive Committee (COMEX) of the Federation therefore validated the resumption of National 2 after the positive opinion of the Ministries of Health and Sports on condition of respecting the same health conditions as in the Amateur French Cup. The resumption is scheduled for March 13. Late matches, for clubs eliminated from the Coupe de France, may be scheduled for February 27 and March 6.
The Ministry of Sports has given its approval because the N2 can be considered as being of “high level” with a majority of “pro” players (federal contracts, aspiring contracts and trainees from professional clubs). Of the 64 clubs, 436 players in total, have a federal contract, an average of 15 players per club. The COMEX validated the new format of the championship, which consists in completing the first leg phase and then constituting a pool of accession and a maintenance for the return matches. Each pool is made up of 8 clubs according to the ranking determined at the end of the first leg. The number of accessions and relegations remains the same. The deadline for the end of the championships is June 13.
A relief, therefore, for most of the representatives of the 4th French championship. But some fear being harmed, like the Entente Sannois Saint-Gratien. “We all want to resume, whether it is the players or the clubs, we want to play, but we have to see what the conditions are, warns Marc Mohamed, sports director of the Val-d’Oise club. If we resume the championship so quickly, I fear that the players will get injured. If some players have been able to train regularly thanks to their contracts, this is not the case with us. I only have 7 who have contracts, most of them are students or have a job on the side. We train twice a week with only 15 players including 3 goalies. We haven’t played since October because friendly matches were banned. We canceled those scheduled for January. We need more time to return to competition normally, without risk of injury, four weeks minimum. “
The leader also regrets that “small clubs have not had their say” and fears that compliance with health measures poses other problems. “The big clubs who played in the Coupe de France pushed for a quick recovery, they are the ones who decide, he regrets. I do not know either if my players will have exemptions to come to train, they live all over the region. They also need to take PCR tests every week. All this is organized, prepared, and at a significant cost for a club like ours. And I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to go to Moselle or Dunkirk, where the virus is very active at the moment. Again everyone wants to replay, but not under any conditions. “
Regarding the other men’s and women’s championships, the FFF is working for their recovery and hopes for the government’s visa. Optimism prevails about the Women’s D2 and the Coupe de France.