When the ethics committee of the French sports movement mistreats its own regulations

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Denis Masseglia, president of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF), at a press conference in Paris, in 2017. FRANCOIS GUILLOT / AFP

No one is supposed, in the small world of sport, to ignore the statutes of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). The statement applies above all, of course, to the members of the ethics committee of the institution, who are rightly empowered to give opinions on ” any question concerning the ethics of sport “, to judge the admissibility of candidatures for the CNOSF board of directors, or even to take disciplinary decisions, upon referral to the said board of directors.

Problem: like The world made it clear, this ethics committee is abusing its own rules of procedure, as well as article 16 of the statutes of the National Olympic Committee. According to the texts, the members of the ethics committee are appointed by the CNOSF board of directors for terms of six years and must not then occupy “Elected or salaried positions within a federation or a member organization of the CNOSF”.

Now Delphine Racinet-Réau sits today both on the ethics committee of the CNOSF and as an elected member of the federal steering committee of the French Shooting Federation (FFTir).

When contacted, the double Olympic shooting medalist (silver in 2000, bronze in 2012) recognizes a “Fault”, but denies all “Intention” for trying to circumvent the regulation. “I did not look in detail at all the statutes, I did not peel them. “

Her election as a member of the FFTir’s steering committee in January 2017 came after her appointment to the CNOSF ethics committee, a voluntary mandate she has held since the first half of 2016, she said.

“If the ethics committee had already had to deal with a file with my federation since then, I would obviously not have participated in such a file, to avoid interfering. “

This 46-year-old woman works as an accountant in the building sector of the Bouygues group on a daily basis.

A committee with confidential activity

In a written response, the CNOSF ensures that it accommodates this plurality of mandates and even refuses to see it as a regulatory breach, insisting on the anteriority of the designation of Mme Racinet-Réau to the ethics committee: “Any incompatibilities must be assessed at the time of designation. “

The CNOSF also dismisses, always for the same reason of priority, any possible questioning of the opinions of the ethics committee to which the sportswoman has contributed since 2017 (and the exact number of which remains to be determined). Just as he refuses, to date, the possibility of forcing her to leave. The interested party specifies:

“If I have to leave one of the two positions, I will leave the one on the federal steering committee of my federation. Which seems logical to me, since I first joined the ethics committee. “

The chairman of the ethics committee, Stéphane Braconnier, a professor of public law at Paris-II Panthéon-Assas University, did not respond to our request. He is one of the eight current members of this committee, with a ninth position still to be filled.

By statute, three people must be included under their “Jurisdiction in the legal field”, three others for their skills “In the scientific, medical or technical fields”, and three others, finally, “For their experience or their influence in the field of sport”, as is the case of Delphine Racinet-Réau, also elected, on the other hand, to the commission of high level athletes of the CNOSF.

Since its establishment in 2002, the activity of the ethics committee – which can be mobilized upon referral from the president of the CNOSF, Denis Masseglia, or its board of directors – remains confidential. In its activity report for the year 2018, the CNOSF did not even mention its existence.

Conversely, at the request of clubs or licensees, the conference of conciliators was the subject, in that year, of the record number of 419 requests for conciliation. ” These are two completely different activities that cannot be compared “, underlines Hubert Marque, head of conciliation at the CNOSF.

Two files, however, have shed recent light on the ethics committee. In February, Denis Masseglia asked him for an opinion on whether or not to keep Didier Gailhaguet on the CNOSF board of directors, after the scandal of sexual violence which forced him to resign from the presidency of the French Sports Federation. ice. A discussion in which Delphine Racinet-Réau did not take part.

Read also Sexual violence in skating: Didier Gailhaguet refuses to leave the National Olympic Committee

The Judo Federation, meanwhile, intends to request referral to the committee of ethics “In disciplinary training” with a view to obtaining the exclusion of the Federation of Sports and Gymnastics at Work (FSGT) from the National Olympic Committee, as the daily revealed The Parisian May 12. The examination of this item had been placed on the agenda of the CNOSF board of directors on May 14, but it was finally postponed.

The slow implementation of charters of ethics and professional conduct

Contacted by The world, on the basis of a provisional census, the sports ministry indicates that at least 46 federations out of 78 respect the legal obligation to have a charter of ethics and professional conduct. Figures still very perfectible, but increasing compared to the 41 federations listed in the forum published in March in Release, by the deputy Régis Juanico (Génération.s, Loire) and the senator Jean-Jacques Lozach (PS, Creuse). The law of 1er March 2017, intended, inter alia, for “Preserving the ethics of sport”, obliges all the delegated federations of the country, that is to say having a ministerial approval for the organization of a sport in France, to establish “A charter of ethics and professional conduct” (that of the National Olympic Committee, for example, dates from 2012). It also obliges each of them to institute “A committee with independent discretion.” Since November 2019, the Committee on Cultural Affairs of the National Assembly has launched a mission to assess this law, with co-rapporteurs Mr. Juanico and Cédric Roussel, Member of Parliament (LRM) for the Alpes-Maritimes.

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