Chairman of the Stadium of Reims, Jean-Pierre Clot is one of the twenty-five members of the board of directors of the professional football League (LFP). It is part of the 24 members who voted, on the 30th of April last, for the judgment of the League 1 and League 2. Unlike its counterpart in Amiens who voted against, Bernard Joannin, the leader of the reims believes that, with the crisis of the Covid-19, there was no other possible option than to end the championship 2019-2020. He explains to the Point.
The Point : What work has carried out the LFP to help the professional football during the crisis ?
Jean-Pierre Clot : within the LFP, we have worked and implemented various recovery scenarios. Everything has been imagined, to even start the next season early 2021. Let us not forget also that with the help of presidents, the League has found a loan guaranteed by the State of 225 million euros which was settled in cash-flow problems. The LFP has done everything that the operating accounts of the club to finish in the best possible condition to start the new season. The need to preserve the future contract with our main broadcaster, Mediapro, who has paid a large sum [of 780 million euros per year, editor's NOTE].
at the End of April, we were in the starting blocks, with dates for return and we thought we could perform tests Covid-19 within the clubs. It is the Prime minister Édouard Philippe, who, upon his allowance of 28 April, has clearly said that the championship was stopped. It is not we who have really decided. The State has asked us to do. Given the importance of football in France, there was a side of the highly symbolic end to the season. A bit like the closure of bars and restaurants. Many French people have realised the scale of the pandemic.
there was no other solution than to stop.
Isn't it a bit easy to hide behind the government's announcement ?
in Spite of everything that has been said again and again, from the moment you are told to stop, we stop. We are legalists. There was no other solution than to stop. A number of colleagues have brought actions. This may be understandable. There is a lot of work on the part of the League and its lawyers to defend the general interest. Jean-Michel Aulas has often used this expression. But the general interest of a football League, this is not a club or two who may feel aggrieved, but one of the forty clubs of league 1 and League 2. The LFP has done its job and won so far all the trials that have been made. Of course, depending on its position, each club may see things differently.
I have a lot of friendship and respect for Bernard Joannin, who is, like me, a business leader [Bernard Joannin manages several stores Intersport and Jean-Pierre Caillot has the company of transport Clot, editor's NOTE]. I've seen it go down with Amiens in National and then climb in 2017 in Ligue 1. In fact, it was against Reims at stade Auguste-Delaune in the 95th minute, he was the first president of Amiens, to gain access to the top level. I suffer a lot for him. It is legitimate that it is sad decisions that have been taken. If the championship had ended, Amiens would have probably been able to save himself. The situation was a little different for Toulouse, who was practically in League 2 at the time of the judgment. This being said, there is a format of competition. Despite what think Bernard Joannin, it was hard to go from 20 to 22 clubs. I believe that there is a time, you need to know to turn the page, even if it is painful, in order to focus on the future.
During the past three months, there has been a lot of hubbub in the world of football...
Yes, and as a enthusiast of football, I suffered a great deal. In the Face of the pandemic, the clubs had been serious, responsible, multiplying such initiatives with the hospital services. But because of a certain cacophony, it gave a disastrous image. I regret it a lot.
How can we improve the governance of football ?
This is twenty years that I am president of the club and the question of governance is a sea serpent. It is obviously necessary to simplify it. Some club presidents are going to make proposals. If we want governance to be effective, from the moment you appoint a single responsible, it is necessary that everyone follow him, that person will not go to contradict it in an interview. The judgment of the League 1 and was voted unanimously by the board of directors, less one vote (24 to Amiens against). It is a shame then that some complain about in the interviews. Take the example of the large-scale distribution. There are several patrons of stores, but when their leader takes the floor, nobody's going to contradict it. Who would dare to contradict Michel-Édouard Leclerc ? Good governance it is this : keep to a line of conduct, beyond the positions of each.
do I have to create a commercial company ?
It's been several years that we are talking about a society in which would be the shareholders the 20 Ligue 1 clubs. It would be necessary that the big clubs respect the small, not a monopoly of three or four teams. And we entrust the sovereign power of the French Federation of football. It would be necessary to find an agreement with the government and the ministry of Sports. I don't have xed ideas. We need to think and not do things in haste.
also Read Mediapro and TF1 will combine to create a string named Téléfoot