Considering themselves victims of discrimination, four women’s sports clubs seize the defender of rights

Four women’s clubs (volleyball, football, basketball and handball) in the Nîmes conurbation have decided to take defender of rights. They consider themselves “victims on the part of the urban community of discrimination on the basis of sex, which is likely to constitute a criminal offense within the meaning of articles 225-1 and 432-7 of the Penal Code”, underlines their lawyer Hortense Douard. The file was filed symbolically on March 8, International Women’s Rights Day.

“These four clubs represent more than 1,200 female licensees in the territory of Nîmes Métropole and twenty employees, explain the leaders in a joint press release. They have been in danger since last September following the sudden withdrawal of the metropolis in their financing. The handball players from Bouillargues and the footballers evolve in D2 (the antechamber of the elite), Nîmes Volley-Ball in N2 and the basketball players in the pre-national.

Since July 2020, policy change

The end of the payment to these four clubs (from 60,000 euros for handball to 15,000 euros for basketball) is the last step in a process initiated when the new management team arrived at the agglomeration in July 2020, after the election to the presidency of Franck Proust (LR). “We are accused of intention. It is in no way a question of targeting women, underlines the director of cabinet, Bernard Baumelou. We have inherited a legally untenable situation. The previous mandate has multiplied by five the aids to a certain number of clubs in five years. However, the agglomeration of Nîmes does not have competence in matters of sport and does not have to subsidize sports clubs. In 2020, we have also stopped funding around twenty structures, mixed or male. For these four clubs, on the contrary, we have chosen a drop over several years to allow them to anticipate.

For the four women’s clubs, however, fairness is violated. “The public market contracts concluded so far were based on communication services, which the metropolis is authorized to do and which it continues to do with men’s clubs. “Three men’s clubs continue to receive sums from the agglomeration. “For the football club (50,000 euros) of Nîmes Olympique (L2) and the Hand (200,000 euros) of Usam (Star League), we can pursue public market contracts by promoting the image, justifies Bernard Baumelou. This, thanks to the media visibility and their exposure on the national channels. Besides, this market will stop if Nîmes Olympique is relegated to National. Concerning the Nîmes Rugby Club (N2), the public contract (57,000 euros) concerns our competence for economic development. Rugby has a business club with more than 300 partner companies. This public market allows us to intervene there regularly”.

The file in the hands of the defender of rights

Not at all convinced by these explanations, the women’s clubs therefore seized the Defender of Rights. “She will question Nîmes Métropole and ask him to explain this situation. It also has the power to investigate, ”explains Hortense Douard, to France Bleu Gard Lozère. “Depending on the elements, it could ask Nîmes Métropole to review its position and, if the institution does not defer to this invitation, send it a recommendation. Finally, it has a power of injunction, which is an ultimate power”.

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