On the financing of sport, the macronie is inflating – Release

Home » Sport » On the financing of sport, the macronie is inflating – Release January 10, 2022

The Castex governmentdossier

Despite some major declarations and a budget revised upwards at the very end of his term of office, the action of Emmanuel Macron since his election has disappointed many players in the field.

On November 15, 2018, Emmanuel Macron takes up the pen. In writing, the Head of State is trying to extinguish the fire started a few days earlier by nearly 400 sportsmen. In an open letter, the Teddy Riner, Renaud Lavillenie, Kevin Mayer, Martin Fourcade and others, to name a few, rushed into the stretchers. “The French sport family is in danger”, they write, regretting the reduction in the budget allocated to sport in the 2019 budget. “Contradictory with the objective of expected performance” and even “Disastrous for the legacy that will be left to new generations”. Words are harsh. Blamed, Macron must respond. His answer can be summed up in a few words: he speaks of a “Unprecedented commitment of the State” while taking care to specify that it is limited to the 2019 budget and that it only concerns high-level sport.

Beyond this exchange of courtesies, on which side does the budgetary and political reality lie? With a president who claims to roll up his sleeves for sport or with athletes who have big on the potato? “Over the first three years of Emmanuel Macron’s mandate, we observed a significant drop in the sports budget”, affirms Jean-Jacques Lozach, socialist senator from Creuse and rapporteur for the sports budget in the upper chamber. “Between 2017 and 2019, 80 million euros have disappeared for sport ”, adds the deputy for Loire Régis Juanico (Génération s), who talks about “Catastrophic decisions”, especially in view of the Paris Games.

In 2018, the first budget of the Macron era, the appropriations intended for sports “For the greatest number” or top-level sport are 347 million. In 2019, they fell to 312 million but the government welcomes an increase at the time … by aggregating in its communication the 65 million euros dedicated to the Solideo, the Olympic and Paralympic equipment delivery company, public establishment, created in 2017 with a view to the 2024 Olympic Games. Hence the anger and the mobilization of athletes at the time.

The 2020 budget is the occasion for a new sleight of hand: excluding the Olympic Games, the sports budget is 428 million. Except that a large part of this increase results from the inclusion in these credits of the salaries of national technical directors (DTN), formerly taken from youth credits. In 2021, the appropriations for the sport remained stable while the Solideo arrogated to itself 100 million euros.

The fears of the sports sector are therefore not unfounded. “Overall, the government’s record is very mixed. There is an absolutely obvious gap between government announcements and actions. We are still very far from meeting all of our needs ”, pings Senator Lozach. “These five years could have been used to prepare the sporting, educational and social legacy of the 2024 Games. But for that, it would have been necessary to deploy programs which would have required a change of scale”, abounds Régis Juanico, who was special rapporteur for the sports budget during the Holland quinquennium.

Misused taxes

To raise funds, the government has a lever: taxes. There are three, partly allocated to the financing of sport: the levy on sports betting, that on scratch games of the Française des Jeux and finally the “Buffet tax”, on the rights of retransmission and broadcasting of matches. . In 2021, 180 million euros from these taxes were allocated to the financing of sport. Not enough for MP Juanico: “Of the 111 million euros that the tax on sports betting, only 34 million are used to finance sport. Everything else goes to the state coffers and is used for something else. “ The macronie could very well increase these taxes, moreover the deputy tabled several amendments in this direction in the Assembly. All rejected.

The health crisis has only worsened an already complicated situation for many small clubs, which have lost licensees because of the Covid but also volunteers. And the blow to the jobs helped at the start of the five-year term has decimated the associative framework. With the Paris Games approaching and presidential ambitions appearing, the majority tried to raise the bar.

By presenting the last budget bill of the five-year term in September, the government has communicated abundantly on a global budget for sports of around one billion: 987 million euros according to the executive. One “Historical budget”, up 22%, says the Minister of Sports. But when we look at the details of budget appropriations, the reality is much more nuanced. Three years before the Paris Games, the envelope dedicated to high-level athletes is 282 million euros, barely 10 million more than last year.

The bulk of the budget increase is absorbed by the sustainability of Emmanuel Macron’s Pass’sport, which costs 100 million euros. Last increase for 2022, the money planned to build the Olympic infrastructure: we go from 234 to 296 million euros in one year. These increases are “Thanks to the Games”, insists Roxana Maracineanu’s entourage. “It is totally assumed because it is a fabulous stimulus tool that allows you to invest in a lot of equipment.” That is. But, according to the calculations of Senator Jean-Jacques Lozach, sports still only represent 0.32% of the total budget, against 0.24% in 2017.

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