Lorenzo Lecci Lopez offers us his second hypothesis on the development of padel in France: Create an independent padel federation from the FFT.
In an interview with Grand Slam magazine, Lionel Maltese, Economic Development Officer within the FFT Executive Committee, said: “For me, padel is a complementary practice and increases the range of offers ofpersonal experiences hedonic for racquet sports' .
During the interview that Lionel maltese Also granted me, the French researcher compares the situation of padel to basketball and the emergence of 3 × 3 (a form of playing basketball, often in the street). Thus, he considers padel as a sport in its own right, of course, but with the FFT, we see it more as an activity “complementary" tennis.
Padel is a sport in its own right
To the question "can padel be considered as a technical complement to tennis?" », Respondents are divided, but a majority stands out quite widely. 63% of respondents think that it is impossible to combine padel and tennis, and defend the fact that padel should be considered a sport in its own right.
Even if some see the practice of padel as an opportunity to improve “his volley”, “his game”, “his understanding with his partner”, the evidence is that it is impossible to consider padel as an alternative practice. tennis.
Padel must be considered as it is, as a sport in its own right with its peculiarities. Baptiste Poey, co-founder of Padel Sport Events:
“That's kind of the message everyone tried to get across at the start. ", he recognizes that the FFT, in 2014, had a sluggish start in the establishment and organization of padel in France. But since then things have been very different with “an obvious investment by the FFT in padel ”.
« We do not necessarily find what we feel in tennis. ", for Laure Moreau, President of the Communication Commission of the Yvelines de Tennis FFT Committee. Padel is complementary to tennis. ”The sensations are different, and both sports have everything to gain from working together”Explains Laure Moreau who is part of the one who believes in padel.
Other members of the FFT or leaders of tennis clubs find it difficult to necessarily accept the appearance of a new racquet sport in the territory. A brake ?
Are we doing too much for padel? Not enough ? Not good enough? These are questions that go beyond opinions. Because padel remains a sport to be “in the making”. Compared to tennis, padel remains very modest, even if we are on a very positive slope. Is the FFT a great federation to develop this sport? Its software, its policy, are they adapted to the situation?
Uneven support between licensed and affiliated clubs
The objective of the FFT in developing the padel is to revitalize their tennis clubs by allowing licensees to have a wider offer at their disposal. The tennis authority therefore grants financial aid to tennis clubs which build padel courts in their sports facilities.
"PAt the moment, private clubs do not benefit from it, but only tennis clubs ”.
This sentence is spoken by Melissa Martin, professional padel player, ranked 3rd French player in the WPT ranking, and winner of the FFT Padel Tour 2019.
This fact is consistent with the stated objective, but does not really coincide with the objective of promoting padel as a sport in its own right throughout France. If the padel clubs are not helped by the federation, it is very difficult for them to be profitable, and big risks are taken by the entrepreneurs (who are generally very passionate about padel).
These are the people who have the deep desire to develop padel, but by depriving them of subsidies, the FFT affirms its objective to boost its number of licensees, and not that of purely developing padel.
Asked about this, Laure Moreau, president of the Communication Commission of the Yvelines Committee of the FFT, told me that the FFT would not help a 100% padel club that would like to set up, because " one of the missions of the FFT is to support its affiliated clubs! ". And as a result, the qualified clubs seem to be forgotten. This has the merit of being clear.
“The FFT must invest more in padel, insofar asù this investment would be put in place for the development of padel. For the moment, she is investing to patch up tennis. " Julien Menuel, padel fan, is quite categorical and seems angry with the FFT. According to him, the fact that padel is simply used to help tennis clubs does not allow padel to identify itself as a sport in its own right. The padel is thus neglected and does not evolve in an eco-system which would allow it to grow properly.
Reluctance of tennis clubs for padel?
" AT today very few tennis clubs correctly accept tennis clubs Padel. This war is causing collateral damage for members Padel. ", comments Mr. Ferrara, industrial engineer and padel lover.
A comment may be true in some clubs. But not everywhere! Quite the contrary.
The idea of the FFT is therefore to give its member clubs more resources to attract new players. But some tennis purists seem not always to appreciate the appearance of a new sport in their infrastructure.
Tennis operates in a traditional environment in which the rules have been established for a very long time and change very little, thus restricting the open-mindedness of the sport.
The most traditionalist leaders may want for some to curb the padel. Can we see a conflict of interest between these two sports?
Development of padel and FFT: divergent interests?
« JI'm afraid that if padel grows as it does in Spain, that the FFT seeks to contain this boom… the future will tell. " , Kristina Clément, NOX Export Director, professional player ranked 5th French player in the WPT ranking.
Like Frankenstein, the FFT could be developing a sport that would end up overshadowing it? Indeed, the various characteristics of the padel mentioned previously (playful, social, economic, logistical, technical, tactical aspect) could allow this sport to develop very quickly, if the means were implemented for this accomplishment.
Carolina PRADO, padel player, n ° 1 in Great Britain and coach of the national padel team of Great Britain, is formal during a subsequent exchange to her response to the questionnaire. For her, “There are many interests in tennis that are not compatible with a massive expansion of padel. Football and futsal each have their federation… and both are football ”.
The FFT sees the expansion of padel as an opportunity to give a rejuvenated and modern image of its sport, and above all a means of boosting the attractiveness of its tennis clubs by enhancing the offer. The FFT therefore has an interest in promoting padel, without however causing massive development that endangered the historic reign of tennis in racket sports in France.
This objective is, in the short term, compatible with the interests of padel which has yet to make itself known in France, but what if the taste of padel that Spanish society experienced in the years 2000-2010 spread to French society in the 2020s? The FFT would restrain the development of padel in such a way that padel cannot overshadow tennis.
Articles L131-1 and following address the role of the sports federation approved by the Ministry of Sports. No article obliges the federation to engage all means in the development of a sport. Article L131-9 indicates "Approved sports federations participate in the implementation of public service missions relating to the development and the Ddemocratization of physical and sports activities. " Thus, if the padel became too important in the eyes of the leaders of the FFT and that competition between the two sports arose, the FFT could quite simply restrain the development of the padel, or even prevent it from growing.
Once again, we remain on the assumption that the padel must emancipate itself. And this subject is subject on the table. The creation of the association of private padel clubs is a new tool which shows that there are discontented people… even if we should not throw everything away.
In the event that padel really grew, would it be possible to see two major sports sharing a federation? For Nicolas Hervé de Beaulieu, “Other federations are already doing it, I don't see why çit won't work ”, but in reality, all major sports have a federation totally committed to the defense of its sport.
For Ruben Lopez, padel lover in Spain, the situation is clear, we must create a French padel federation: “Padel needs a federation that supports and defends padel in all spheres (economic, advertising, and competitions). ".
This master's student in law in Madrid underlines an important aspect: all sport needs a public entity that can defend its individual interests. However, if two sports which do not have the same interests share a federation, conflicts of interest will appear. If padel finally became more popular than tennis, how would the FFT react? A cohabitation would not be viable if the padel were to grow.
Abroad, a misunderstanding of the French situation
In Spain, padel has developed very rapidly under the control of the FEP (Spanish Paddle Federation). However, the situation in France seems very particular to the foreigners I interviewed: they do not understand how the tennis federation can have obtained the management of tennis by the Ministry of Sports. As shown in the table below, five of the six foreign respondents (four Spaniards, one Briton and one Argentina) replied “to create a padel federation” as the best hypothesis for the development of padel in France.
For some of them, the situation even seems absurd: “It's as if the licenses of judo and karate are confused. ", commented to me an official in the field of sport in Spain who wished to remain anonymous. Tennis and padel have completely different characteristics, and their only common point is ultimately that these two sports are racket sports.
Mandatory support from the Ministry of Sports
On February 16, 2014, during the general assembly of the FFT at Roland-Garros, the padel was unanimously adopted in the statutes of the FFT.
A few days later, the Ministry of Youth and Sports gives approval to the FFT to control the padel. As specified in Article L131-14 of the Sports Code, a single entity receives the approval of the Ministry of Sports: "In each sport discipline and for a fixed period, only one approved federation reçoit delegation of the minister in charge of sports. A decree in the Council of State determines the conditions for granting and withdrawing the delegation, after consulting the French National Olympic and Sports Committee.here it is. ».
Thus, in the hypothesis that a French padel federation should be reformed, the approval of the Ministry of Sports would be compulsory to exercise.
By his names, we can guess his Spanish and Italian origins. Lorenzo is a polyglot passionate about sport: journalism by vocation and events by adoration are his two legs. Its ambition is to cover the biggest sporting events (Olympics and Worlds). He is interested in the padel situation in France, and offers perspectives for optimal development.