Interview with National Sports Council (NSC) chief executive Jean Larue |16 April 2020
‘Federations need to adjust sporting calendar’
National Sports Council chief executive Jean Larue has said that sports federations need to review their calendar for the rest of the year.
Speaking to Sports NATION at the start of the week, chief executive (CEO) Larue said that he expects to see a shorter season after all sports activities were abruptly stopped in mid-March based on advice from the department of health to avoid grouping of people which goes against the social distancing requirements in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
“NSC will definitely advise sports federations and associations to review their sporting calendar which will be shorter and for this year, we had asked them to provide us with a four-year programme to build up for the next Indian Ocean Islands Games in 2023 (in the Maldives) where we assist them. But as for their competitions, quite a number of them are helped through sponsorships which in the aftermath of the coronavirus, we are wondering if they will be available and these are the unknowns that we will have to deal with as the year elapses,” CEO Larue claimed.
Nonetheless, Mr Larue made it clear that the federations have not suffered any budget cuts in the amended budget for the year which was approved by the National Assembly last week though as a whole, some of the capital projects such as renovation works on sporting venues have been postponed, except for Stad Popiler and the Roche Caïman swimming pool which will proceed as planned.
“There have also been cuts especially for international competitions such as the Fina swimming competition, the Regional Sailing championships, Jeux de l’Espoir and Olympic Games which is understandable during these difficult times where flights have been grounded and one wonders if people will want to travel when things get back to normal, but more importantly most international associations have cancelled most activities amid the pandemic,” reflected the NSC boss.
Mr Larue though stressed on the importance of working closely with the federations and associations to find a common ground for the future of sports in the country and the world as a whole.
“It is a fact that sports will never be the same in this country after this COVID-19 pandemic and we will definitely see a drop in the standards in sports which is inevitable but what I would not like to see is clubs folding and this is where we want to work with the different associations and federations to try and find a solution to these foreseeable scenario but clubs also must not think only about their personal interest and of their foreign players but should also be concerned for the economy of our country and health and safety of our people first and foremost,” stated Mr Larue.
As for the issue of foreign coaches, Mr Larue said that there are very few working with the NSC and they are under contract so they will be staying put for the time being, but the situation will be reviewed as things pan out over the year.
But Mr Larue had words of encouragement for the high-level athletes who receive a monthly allowance from the organisation.
“These athletes will be covered by the NSC though we are aware that at the moment they cannot train and maintain the same intensity in their preparation, especially those who were going to compete in the Olympic Games. My advice is to stay safe for the moment and things will get better with a bit of patience but for now, they must stay safe,” Mr Larue explained.
As for when does he think sports activities will resume in this country, Mr Larue felt that it is too early to make such forecast but everyone must stick to the guidance of the department of health.
“There are so many unknowns at the moment as we also have to think about social distancing if it can be maintained when we resume sporting activities and how we go about abiding by these guidelines, but what I want to tell all athletes is that we will work together with the federations and associations to see how sports is done in the post COVID-19 pandemic period. For the moment, I’m happy all athletes are in good health and I hope they continue to stay safe and take all the precautionary measures but it is obvious that sports will return after this turbulent period and NSC will always be there to help and facilitate sports and we would not like to see people giving up and sport after this pandemic dies out but we will be there to provide this encouragement and provide the necessary support to cope,” NSC chief executive Larue said in conclusion.