Present at the Arena during Narbonne Volley’s title in the Challenge Cup on March 22, Kamel Chibli, vice-president of the Occitanie Region in charge of sports, wished to speak about the situation of the Aude club and its potential administrative demotion in federal division.
What do you think of the situation around Narbonne Volley?
It is not new that the Region supports this club, that we also support its transformation with this new room. The Region has been fully mobilized, from the start, for this team which is a bit of a UFO at the national level, since it has succeeded in developing spectacle sport, generating additional savings. Volleyball is a special discipline, there are not three channels that broadcast matches in League A, for example. When we saw the problems of the Narbonne club, with the president Carole Delga, we immediately got behind him. We will help them to ensure that this club continues to evolve in Ligue A. Especially since it has just won a European Cup, so for French volleyball, it’s fabulous.
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Have you carried out any interventions to help the club?
We have very good relations with the French Volleyball Federation, so much so that we welcome the French men’s team, Olympic champions, and women’s in Occitania for the big volleyball party at the Sud de France Arena in Montpellier (August 20, France – Turkey for women and France – Brazil for men, editor’s note). So, of course, I contacted its president to alert him to the situation of the Narbonne club and tell him that the Region was more than sensitive to support this club which is an example. Then, with the CNOSF, which manages the conciliation of this file, I made an intervention with the President of the Olympic Committee to alert her to the same thing: the importance of this club in Occitania and for the discipline. in France, when we win the Olympic Games. It’s also a sport that can’t develop like handball did. For once, Narbonne manages to generate this spectacle sport dimension and to bring families, and in Narbonne and in the Aude it is a flagship club. It is very rare for teams to bring 2,500-3,000 people to this department. I will therefore ask to participate in the hearing of Narbonne Volley before the conciliation of the CNOSF as vice-president of the Occitanie Region in charge of sports and also as president of the regional sports conference of Occitanie. My goal is to show all the support we provide and to say the importance of having this club in France. I think it is in the interest of the Federation, with the DNACG, to use this club to develop this economic model which is very interesting.
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“We have to speak for the community, which is not neutral”
So you are going to defend Narbonne Volley before the French National Olympic and Sports Committee on August 17th?
I’ve already done it. We had club situations that were weakened. It is to show the CNOSF that the communities and institutions are behind Narbonne, it is important for them to understand that a club is not isolated all alone in its corner. He’s not just a president. Everyone knows the attachment and voluntarism of Jérémie Ribourel, but everyone also knows all that it could have aroused in Narbonne. Inevitably, it is the role of elected officials to tackle issues like this head-on and to say “this club totally deserves its place in Ligue A, it has an interesting structure, perhaps a little different.” It is necessary that we carry the word of the community, which is not all the same neutral. Occitania is one of the Regions with almost the most practitioners at the national level. So I hope our voice will be heard collectively. It would be amazing to see that the Narbonne Volleyball, which brings together families, children, which attracts the support of many people beyond Narbonne and Aude, could experience weaknesses. We must accompany him.
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Jérémie Ribourel, president of Narbonne Volley, has postponed the transition to a simplified joint-stock company. What do you think ?
This example that we are experiencing, hoping that the outcome will be positive, will allow us to put things together with the Federation, the League and the sports movement. You have to understand that what Narbonne Volley brings is quite innovative, when it is, it upsets certain codes (an announcer, cheerleaders, a sound and light show, sports entertainment, editor’s note). I think that Jérémie Ribourel was right to transform the club into a company, because that makes it possible to generate a whole economy, which an associative structure cannot do. For now, I think it’s good that he is postponing this change at his club, but you have to put everything on the table to explain that “if we want volleyball to develop, to be a source of financial attractiveness, we have to make things happen.” So I am of the opinion of creating the best structure to pass this stage of official maintenance in Ligue A. But behind, we must quickly, at the national level, use what Narbonne has done. All clubs today seek to run their own venue and economies. Narbonne is touring France and Europe now, with the image of the city, Aude and Occitanie, people forget it. And companies know it. When we manage to attract companies it is important, sport is private and public. This is where the Narbonnais club has understood everything, and it is up to us to be a facilitator.