Florent Deligia (OL): "No football club is proud to fly"

Before the match against Marseille, they warned us that a team would meet the two planes at the airport. We thought it was a good topic. We were already negotiating with the SNCF before the Covid. President Aulas told us that he would answer them and invite them to the stadium to discuss it further. The idea was to show them what we are doing globally. Travel is only a small part of what is built, there is the management of energy, carbon emissions, etc.

So you received them at Groupama Stadium?

They came, we explained to them the security issues, especially in Marseille. We presented them with our exchanges with the SNCF and the quotes, we also showed them the solar panels which cover 80% of the stadium’s energy needs. These sequences were not kept, they told us that it was an editorial choice. It’s a shame, we had the impression that football served as loss leader for the report. No football club is proud to fly. We want to find the best mobility in relation to the context. We said to ourselves that if we showed them how the negotiations with the SNCF and all that were going, the debate would be relaunched in the right direction.

How do you arbitrate between the different mobility options?

The first question is security. To go to Marseille, we studied several possibilities, including arriving at a station outside Marseille and ending up by bus, but security blocked us. Doing Lyon-Marseille by bus, even unmarked, means mobilizing police forces on all the bridges that span the motorway, as was happening for the derby. To go to Saint-Étienne, it could be managed, but until Marseille, it was not possible. The other points are recovery, timetables and journey times. This season, we made two trips by coach (Montpellier, Auxerre) and we are going to make a third (Clermont). Each time it coincided. When we started to work on the subject of the train, President Aulas told us: “Go to the end of the hypothesis, even if it is more expensive, it will not be the blocking point. » The priority being safety, recovery and arrival and departure times. We had two working hypotheses to get to Lille and Paris, being in first class on a normal train. The final bill was twice that of the plane, but we carried on.

So what blocked?

For Lille, since you have to book three months in advance and we often have the dates three weeks before, we negotiated with the SNCF on the basis of a match on Sunday. They offered us schedules that didn’t fit, we arrived too early or too late. With hindsight, luckily we didn’t because the match was scheduled for a Friday… Booking three months in advance is a blocker. We would have to find an in-between between the requests of the broadcasters and those of the SNCF, there is perhaps a happy medium between three weeks and three months. For Paris, we worked on the hypothesis but we arrived too late, at the beginning of the afternoon. At that time, in November, there was also the unknown of a potential Coupe de France semi-final on Wednesday. How do you manage the recovery behind if you have two away games and you have to go back to Lyon in between to prepare? The SNCF has understood our problems, we continue to talk to them. We want to find protocols for taking the train regularly. Now, if the football clubs want to make an effort, travel will be done mainly by bus, more than by train. It’s easier because you leave and come back whenever you want. Montpellier or Auxerre, it’s quite long but we go there anyway by bus. If Saint-Étienne and Dijon were still in Ligue 1, we would also go by coach.

We have an obligation to seek the best solutions. Our answer is global, it’s not just travel in the equation. Any outdoor leisure activity will be overtaken by the issue of climate change.

The SNCF proposes to privatize trains, right?

When we asked them, they told us that they couldn’t do it because they lack conductors and trains. Having a train just for 50 people would not be consistent. Moreover, in this situation, the price would be multiplied by four or five.

Do you understand that it challenges us to fly two planes for a Lyon-Marseille and that we bring a bus for the hotel-stadium trip?

We didn’t hide it from Further investigation : President Aulas has his life as a boss, he manages OL, he is with the League, the ECA, etc. He doesn’t always travel with the team. There was a five-hour difference between the two flights, we were in the middle of negotiations with John Textor, he had stayed in Lyon to manage that. Regarding the bus, it is not empty. He sometimes leaves with people – people from com’, VIPs – and above all, the holds are full, there are physio tables and lots of things inside. On the other hand, it is not because the clubs have these habits that we do not think about doing otherwise.

Sport Positive has established a ranking taking into account a dozen ecological criteria: OL come first in France, but nine Premier League clubs and eleven Bundesliga clubs have a better average. How to explain this delay of French clubs?

Culturally, Germany asked itself these questions long before us, going so far as to launch debates on coal, nuclear power, etc. The energy issue constantly feeds the national debate in Germany. The more northern countries integrated these issues earlier. I won’t speak for the other clubs, but we have a foundation led by Maëlle Trarieux, who seeks solutions on a daily basis, and we work with the Fair Play For Planet label to develop our practices. OL own their stadium and that changes everything when you want to take action. With fairly high ceiling heights, we tended to heat the top of the rooms a little too much. The teams have found solutions, there are now systems that allow the hot air to be applied to the ground, where people are. As doors sometimes remain open between the interior and the exterior, we also installed air curtains to insulate.

Antoine Miche, president of Football Ecologie France, told us: Isn’t six hours by bus better than the plane when you know you have the chance to play football because you have a livable planet? The more things we do against the fact that the planet is livable, the more we jeopardize our own activity “. Do you hear this point of view?

He is right to raise this debate, it is his role. We have an obligation to seek the best solutions. Our answer is global, it’s not just travel in the equation. When possible, we prefer the bus. We must not forget, unfortunately, to what extent the Covid has slowed down all the positive initiatives in terms of mobility. The health bubble was the priority, and the plane was the answer almost systematically. The clubs have lost one or two years with this, but we are working on these issues and looking for alternatives. Any outdoor leisure activity will be overtaken by the issue of climate change, everyone has an interest in finding solutions.

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Tarun Kumar

Tarun Kumar has worked in the News sector for 05 years and is currently the Owner and Editor of Then24. He reside in Delhi, India with his Family.

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