The battle for the Luxembourg Garden tennis courts is still not over

But nothing is simple in this case, which was the subject of a six-year long legal battle led by Hervé Picard, the manager of the Paris Tennis company. The latter had challenged the allocation of the management of these lands to the Paris Committee, an offshoot of the French Tennis Federation, and had seen the Council of State rule in his favor and cancel the concession. He again challenged the Senate’s decision to choose Vaziva. All the parties therefore had an appointment this Friday at the administrative court for a pre-contractual summary hearing.

“You are the Federer of administrative law”

In the small courtroom, which is accessed by a temporary staircase, Hervé Picard is present, dressed in his essential black tracksuit. He has an obsession: to recover a document sent by the FFT to the Senate to indicate that it was withdrawing from the project. Indeed, Jean-Philippe Fleurian, head of the France wheelchair tennis division, was ociated with the Vaziva project, a competitor of the Paris Committee and, therefore, of the FFT. Picard therefore addresses the Senate lawyer, Me Valérie Brault curtly rejects him. His advice, Me Christophe Cabanes takes him aside. “You are the Federer of administrative law. A fortnight before Roland-Garros, I expect you to be at the top”, throws Hervé Picard at him, before sitting down and not saying a word.

In his argument, his lawyer will question the choice of Vaziva, and will question the seriousness of the examination of candidacies by the Senate. “It is a respectable company but whose participation in this call for tenders is questionable, because it is a company specializing in the marketing of cards, very far from the management of sports structures. Normally, the Senate should have asked itself the question of whether the Vaziva company had the specific skills to manage the management of sports equipment,” he will explain in particular.

Hervé Picard in Paris, January 18.  (A. Réau/The Team)

Hervé Picard in Paris, January 18. (A. Réau/The Team)

The closing of the postponed instruction

Me Brault, representing the Senate, will ensure that everything is in the nails, will vilify Me Cabanes a lot, so much so that she will be called to order by the judge, will answer: “The Senate has set the rules of the game, with a precise list of what is expected from the candidates. It therefore checked the professional skills expected in the context of this file. […] The Senate was not looking for an offer that would guarantee high-level tennis education, but an organization that would allow the obligation of the contract to be respected. »

As for Vaziva’s lawyer, Me Marie-Yvonne Benjamin, she will say “understand the anger or annoyance of the lawyer who represents the Senate” and will invite the judge to analyze the admissibility of the request. “The unlucky candidate is a bad loser for me. He has no interest in acting as he finished third” of the call for tenders, behind his client and the Paris Committee. Attentive, the judge will postpone the closing of the investigation to Friday, May 19, 12 noon. And will make his order at the beginning of the week of May 22. “Don’t sign the contract until then”, she warns. The grounds of Luxembourg will therefore be closed for another ten days, at least.

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