Abuse in gymnastics: the ministry is ing down

Sentenced to six months in prison suspended for moral harment, the technical director of the France gymnastics center in Marseille Vincent Pateau will no longer be able to exercise a supervisory function.

Regaining control in French gymnastics: the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra ed down on Tuesday after yet another testimony of abuse in Stage 2in particular by prohibiting the exercise of the Marseille official recently sentenced by the courts.

Less than two months after the trial of the technical director of the France gymnastics center in Marseille Vincent Pateau, having shed a harsh light on the violence in the environment, the testimonies broadcast on Sunday in the program of France Televisions have increased the pressure on the French Gymnastics Federation. Especially since they are targeting a former manager but also a manager still in office.

These revelations caused the minister to react: Vincent Pateau, recently sentenced to a six-month suspended prison sentence for moral harment, will no longer be able to exercise “coaching function“, indicated the ministry to the AFP. Following his conviction on May 4, the ministry decided toinability to perform any managerial function», concretely a ban on training and advising athletes.

A decision taken on Tuesday following the summons of the president of the FFgym James Blateau, accompanied by the national technical director Kevinn Rabaud, to the Ministry for a two-hour meeting. An approach as rare as it is striking having concerned in recent years the ex-president of the French Football Federation Noël Le Graet or before him that of the French Federation of Ice Sports, Didier Gailhaguet. Each time during crises that cost them the presidency. French gymnastics is not there yet, but it pays for an accumulation effect. Six former gymnasts from the France team denounced Sunday in Stage 2 physical or psychological violence from coaches.

Hurtful remarks and slap to a minor

The repeated and hurtful remarks on the weight as well as a slap inflicted on a minor in the middle of the Olympic Games are the subject of an investigation by the ministry. Pending its conclusion, the current framework involved “will be received by the sports department and is likely to be suspended as a precautionary measure“.

The former gymnast of the French team Marine Petit notably described a slap received from him during the 2008 Olympics on his return from a party to celebrate the silver medal in the vault won by Thomas Bouhail. “This is information that turns in the middle of the gym“Commented James Blateau, president of the FFGym since 2013, to AFP, confirming having heard this story before Sunday. “What was not said in the report are the conditions (of the event)he believes. It was not said that this young girl was 15 and a half years old, that it was after a night looking for her everywhere and that she was drunk. During the Olympic Games, we do something other than party. That’s a lot of things all the same and that doesn’t excuse a bad gesture. But still.»

He prefers to leave the hand to the ministry: “The investigation will tell us if there are problems, then we will conclude. And, if there is no problem, we will also conclude.“The other coach accused of ill-treatment in Stage 2 has not been under contract with the Federation since 2013.

It is not this gym that we want.

James Blateau

The results and his behavior were not satisfactorydescribes James Blateau. It was not necessarily the things expressed there (in Sunday’s survey, editor’s note) but of this kind. That is to say, not the right words, not the right behaviors. It is not this gym that we want.“Became a coach in a club, he is also targeted by an investigation of the departmental service for youth, commitment and sports (SDJES) concerned, “which will allow, if necessary, the taking of a measure prohibiting the exercise“, specifies the ministry.

For several years, this sporting discipline has been shaken, in several federations around the world, by cases of violence, as in the United States of America, of abuse linked to training, and certain gymnasts, most of the time girls, have reported food deprivation.

A former coach of the Marseille pole, Pierre Ettel, must also be tried for moral harment on November 7. In addition, a Ukrainian technician from the French men’s team, Vitaly Marinitch, was dismissed in January. “He had a behavior that did not suit us at all, alcoholism and so on“, describes James Blateau. “During an internship, he would have said things that you do not say to young girls“, he adds. “We must differentiate the requirement from violence, to use the words of the minister“Sum James Blateau. A cultural project awaits French gymnastics.

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