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“The results of the World Athletics Championships must call into question the effectiveness of our public policies for promoting sport in society”

Lhe leaders of the French Athletics Federation (FFA) are summoned to the Ministry of Sports to explain the absence of significant results at the world athletics championships. Given the financial efforts made by our country towards the federations, it is legitimate that an assessment be carried out, at the end of each major competition, in order to measure the effectiveness of the means implemented.

But these results must also call into question the effectiveness of our public policies for promoting sport in society. Admittedly, there is a considerable distance between exceptional practitioners and ordinary practitioners. However, the former would not exist without the latter.

However, the French men and women – more particularly the younger generations – are less and less sporty: sporting culture is no longer a stable and massive element that contributes to the construction of their place in society.

His practice is no longer attractive

Faced with this reality, the public authorities are undertaking initiatives whose main aim is to “get young people and adolescents moving”. The primary objective is not concealed: it is a question of fighting against a sedentary lifestyle and its negative consequences on health.

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However, adherence to sports practice should not be reduced to a health ambition. Moving is not playing sports. Doing sport means getting involved, experiencing pleasures, those – multiple and varied – that its practice provides and that should be carefully identified. To deny these expressive dimensions associated with any sporting commitment is to ignore all those who practice sport, and there are many of them, for reasons other than those centered on health.

Another aspect should not be ignored. If a large majority of young people have practiced a sport, many are those who abandon it: its practice is no longer attractive. It even sometimes became repulsive. Consequently, public action can no longer be limited to carrying out initiatives solely centered on the promotion of sport; they must also be thought out around the loyalty of our young people to its practice, in order to deal with the problem of dropping out of sport.

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The meeting between a federation faced with results that do not live up to its expectations and a ministry responsible for sports policy in our territory must be an opportunity to rethink the nature and place of sports culture among our young people.

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