No disappearance but the end of a four-year-old adventure. “It’s horrible to see everything we founded collapse all of a sudden, without…
No disappearance but the end of a four-year-old adventure. “It’s horrible to see everything we founded collapse all of a sudden, without even being consulted,” laments Manon Péant, third center line of the senior team. Originally, women’s rugby in Biarritz took shape in 2014, under the contours of Féminines Athlétiques Rugby (FAR), as imagined by Florian Mercader, one of the pioneers. Everything then accelerated on July 1, 2018, when the entity – which was only playing at 7 – became the Biarritz Olympique Féminin.
The rapprochement between the FAR and the sports section of Biarritz Olympique was obvious, even life-saving. Since they have been under the aegis of the association, the players, nicknamed “the BOtés”, have gone from seven to fifteen, the youngest have seen the light of day, and this season, the pennant team has even finished in the last regional square of the Federal 2, lost against Nérac.
“Closer to the pro sector”
So inevitably, the decision taken by the office of the Biarritz Olympique Rugby association raises questions. The conflict that is undermining the entire Biarritz rugby is no stranger to this. On the one hand, the head of the association of amateur soundtracks, essentially made up of the former glories of the 2000s and who arrived in September; on the other, the SASP Biarritz Olympique Pays Basque, managed by Jean-Baptiste Aldigé. And in the middle? Lots of people and a few BOtés. Some of them even voted for the dismissal of the executive board of the amateur BO during the “general meeting”, attempted last April and whose effects were suspended by the courts. But the future ex-responsible for the female pole Florian Mercader assures: “The wars of ego, who cares”. “Since 2018, we have always been forgotten within the association, he continues. On grants etc. And each time, the BOPB was there”.
“When we arrived in September 2021, describes David Couzinet, we created a weight room, we put the players in tune with the other teams that are under our responsibility. Today, they are closer to the professional sector than to us, explains the former second line of the BO. They were entitled to the club bus for several trips, to attend Top 14 matches and even run the bar for the pros a few times to earn money. I’m not against the fact that she worries, but since the girls joined the association, the FAR still exists, and the money they earn goes directly into its coffers”.
What about cadets?
What justify, for the leaders of the BO amateur, a transfer of structure “to the FAR”, so that the women, in the long term, are “financed more clearly by the private sector”. “It’s in tune with the times anyway, summarizes the former second line. We wanted to check before doing anything with the authorities of French rugby. It will become an obligation for women’s teams to get closer to professional structures. We got ahead. »
Despite this separation, the amateur BO association intends to keep the younger team and the younger rugbywomen within it. “We will do our best so that she can do our sport”. It is now up to the senior players and their head coach Florian Mercader to chart the new path for women’s rugby in Biarritz. “We will have to find the funding, the partners, projects the coach, but the girls are not going to let go”.