The coincidence did not go unnoticed. On January 7, the Prime Minister took stock of the health situation and the still postponed reopening of cultural places, restaurants and ski resorts. He had not, then, evoked the idea of a resumption of amateur sport with its competitions stopped since the end of October. At the same time, that Thursday, the Coupe de France proceeded to the drawing of lots for the 8th round and 32es of final concerning only the professional clubs. A unique formula that will bring together pros and amateurs in 16es of the final, each on their own, mid-February at the earliest, if everything starts again.
Two weeks later, on Wednesday January 20, at the deadline set for his “review”, Jean Castex again spoke about the evolution of the health crisis. And the same evening, the professional clubs of Ligue 2 got down to the 8e Tour of the Coupe de France, which was specially reserved for them. Amateur clubs were still waiting to be determined. Between impatience and discouragement
The amateur championships continued overseas. “We received the tourists at Christmas, why couldn’t we have played football?
The debate began at the start of the year with the news of the Coupe de France. In the metropolitan regional leagues, it stopped in the fall. There are still matches from the 5th, 6th and 7th rounds to go before we can imagine what happens next. A sporting and logistical puzzle. It will take time to restart the competitions and the federation (FFF) does not want to sacrifice its popular event and the television receipts that accompany it. So, will the Coupe de France come to an end by being reserved only for the pros?
The question arouses the interest of a small handful of amateur clubs who have never interrupted their season. Irreducible optimists. This is the case for overseas teams in this month of January. FC M’Tsapéré, Mayotte team (see box), US Sinnamary in Guyana and Club Franciscain et la Samaritaine, Martinican rivals who clashed on January 13 for the right to play a 32e final in Cayenne, January 31, against the US Sinnamary (USS).
When the Hexagon closed its stadiums at the end of October, amateur football, behind closed doors, continued its championships in Reunion Island and Mayotte, in Guyana, Guadeloupe and Martinique. “We were able to welcome tourists at Christmas, why couldn’t we have played football? Asks a merchant from Fort-de-France. Despite the decision of the prefect of Guyana, on January 9, to lower the curfew from 10 pm to 7 pm after a rebound in the epidemic in the department, the US Sinnamary still leads a happy daily of “little Thumb” of the Coupe de France. “Football at our level, it can only be for fun, the desire to bring people together,” says Fabrice Torvic, 47, president of the club for ten years. This is the very definition of volunteering. “
The bubbling activity of the “red devils”
In the coastal town of 3,000 inhabitants, the activity of the “Red Devils” goes beyond the narrow framework of a departmental championship when in metropolitan France the best amateur players manage to make a living from it. “There is nothing to be gained in terms of money here, but our role is also to provide activities and entertainment for the children”, pleads the president, responsible for school affairs at the town hall. The football school attracts around 40 kids from 3 to 13 years old. Then follow the youth teams. Sport in Sinnamary is two football stadiums, two clubs, a swimming pool, a gymnasium, basketball, etc. “We have the sports city label, high-performance associations, and that occupies a lot of people. “
We will be able to buy a minibus, pay charges, buy equipment.
Since the beginning of the autumn, the footballers of the USS have played six matches of the Coupe de France, the last of which on December 20 against the Guadeloupe du Petit-Canal (2-0 victory in the regional final), and a few matches of championship. “It’s true that compared to mainland France…”, notes Fabrice Torvic. With its qualification, the club is already guaranteed to receive 22,000 euros from the FFF, cumulative bonuses for having reached the 32es final. If he dominates his Martinican opponent, on January 31, the jackpot will increase. “We will be able to buy a minibus, pay charges, buy equipment. Sinnamary’s success also reports financial support from the Guyanese Space Center in Kourou, 60 km to the north. A greater effort than ad hoc aid from each other, which has become rarer in times of economic crisis.
The sporting upturn, thousands of kilometers from the metropolis, tells something other than questions about the progress of the event suspended from the health crisis. “We have already won a lot,” said the president, but in the Cup money does not matter everything. “We would like to take a little trip to France if we go to the round of 16. We would be the first overseas club to reach this level of competition. Like a final.