Hérault athletes testify to funding inequalities in the world of sport

Hérault athletes testify to funding inequalities in the world of sport
Hérault athletes testify to funding inequalities in the world of sport

During the second round table of the Midi Libre Eco Club on July 4 in Béziers, hosted by Laurent François, journalist responsible for sports at the Midi Libre agency in Béziers, high-level athletes spoke about their relationship with money and their difficulties in coping, both in the present and in the future.

Even before the topic was addressed in a second round table, Robert Ménard acknowledged that the municipality was already subsidizing “10 times more three sports associations than the 150 others in Béziers”.

It is a reality that, depending on the popularity of a sport, whether individual or collective, the financial resources available are not at all the same. This was demonstrated by the guests of the round table, all high-level athletes yet famous in their respective disciplines.

“A lot of effort and family support”

Brigitte Banégas, who lives in Valras and is probably the best freediver in the world in her category to date, says: “I’ve never really had any sponsors other than equipment manufacturers. It all takes a lot of effort and family support.” The reason is that a season at this level costs around €20,000, not including the loss of earnings for those who cannot work on physical preparation and training times, a recurring figure for many other disciplines and which “weighs on the family budget”.

The same situation applies to Rosa Gangloff from Béziers, a high-level marathon runner who is visually impaired and selected for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games: “It’s mainly my husband who finances a lot. – who is also his eyes during half of the race, Editor’s note – I am an employee in the club, subsidized by Béziers. My president also pays me the pairs of shoes at €350 that I have to change every three months.” A situation that leaves you with the burden of numerous travel expenses.

A future difficult to predict

For Selma Renier, French boxing champion and whose trainer believes that she has “the potential to target Europe”the situation is even more complicated. Barely 20 years old, she lives mainly from a small job and had to take unpaid leave for the eight weeks of training for the French championships. Likewise, her coaches found time to take turns every half-day as volunteers. A situation in which her employer would have been inflexible and unlikely to renew if she could not warn “from today of a situation like this. But you can’t predict things like that,” she explains.

In comparison, the prize money for winning major titles such as the French championship brings him around €5,000: “Ridiculous for all the sacrifices behind it”believes his trainer Patrice Guidoni.

Also present, Clément Ancély, captain of ASBH and Benjamin Bagate, director of the training center, humbly recognized the privileges of their situation, with much higher salaries upon professionalization. While emphasizing the biggest challenge of any high-level professional career, and often short-lived: the difficulty in finding a job afterwards. But Clément Ancély praised the evolution of the ASBH center that trained him: “In my day, what was expected of us academically wasn’t as important, and it’s a great thing that’s changed.”he says, having just obtained a master’s degree in management with the help of the rugby union.

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