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"There is something of the order of relief to hear Habib Beye"

In a position where the priority does not always go to the competence, the services of the former defender as a football consultant, on Canal +, are frankly cheerful, estimates our columnist Jerome Latta.

Posted today at 16h18 Time to Reading 3 min.

Habib Beye (center) during a match in Marseille on 28 October.
Habib Beye (center) during a match in Marseille on 28 October. Alexandre Dimou / Icon Sport

Chronic. Sports broadcasts are often moments of suffering, not because the athlete or team that we support loses, but because the show is regularly ruined by his commentary. Scabrous analyzes, hooting, indignation, chauvinism, heaviness, the range of pains inflicted is quite wide.

So it may be in all relativity that some commentators appear as blessings. Take Habib Beye on Sunday night at the microphone of Saint-Etienne-PSG on Canal +. The voice and the words are put, the relevant remarks, the modest attitude.

There is something of relief to hear, both during meetings and programs, even in the company of journalists and consultants among the most infuriating – alongside whom he works alternately with Eric Carrière, to which we equally wish to give thanks.

The contrast is such that one suspects even a strategy of deliberate compensation, on the part of the chain. It is always better than some talk shows that have elsewhere chosen the choice of a complete mediocrity in order not to offend anyone, but it condemns for example the Canal Football Club at times when the discomfort of the participants is as heavy as the reflections of Pierre Ménès.

Beye and Carrière do not need these extreme castings to enhance their work. Because they work. "I refrain from going to a show or commenting on a match without being prepared at 200%," has recently affirmed the first on

He who admand "an important ego" does not think that he is omniscient, and his comments really enrich the retransmission. It is to be hoped, however, that Habib Beye's self-sufficiency will not fade in the future: how many promising consultants have gone astray?

Uninhibited incompetence

It was a little forgotten, but when Franck Leboeuf and Christophe Dugarry start their media careers on M6, at the 2006 World Cup, it's a delight. Then they find "freshness", a frank talk, a new eye on the game. Twelve years later, they participate in the ongoing revolt around football and embody the incompetence of the uninhibited French consultant.

Excess of self-satisfaction listening to praise, encouragement to comply with the mediocrity of rigor, laziness? The "larquéite", a pathology of the gallbladder that plunges its victim into the bitterness and compulsive denigration of TF1's former historical consultant, Jean-Michel Larqué, will be pointed out.

The "demand" formulated by the employer media is certainly at the heart of the problem. The search for prestigious names often leads to favor former players. While, even if Bernard Lacombe has just recently estimated that you must have known the high level to be allowed to issue opinions, this is in no way a guarantee of competence.

We are even struck by the inability of some "ex" to feel the game Their lack of knowledge of the laws of the game does not seem to be a handicap to fuel the obsessive criticism of the referees. Another area in which Beye and Carrière stand out positively.

The position of the commentator

The need (in France) to comment continuously, without ever giving the viewer a little silence, perhaps explains the difficulty to take a step back live. It leads to paraphrase the score and to miss a change in the balance of power between the teams.

The position of the commentator – as a journalist or consultant – is prestigious but uncomfortable, in reality. It is difficult, if not impossible, to respond to all aspirations. It is indeed necessary to popularize, to address the majority audience without excluding it, to put oneself at one's level, to do pedagogical work. To be a good smuggler, in short.

This often gives rise to frustration within the most "enlightened" fringe of the public, whose level of requirement is higher, but an overly clever comment would be out of the question. The right compromise is hard to find – which does not excuse the recurring choice of a race to the bottom.

The solution probably lies in a bias that is well illustrated by the good commentators: do not take people for fools and his opinions for revealed truths, maintain a healthy distance to his job. Habib Beye, who is preparing his coaching diplomas, said in December: "If in ten years I'm still on TV, I would not have missed my life, but I would have missed my vocation. "

Jérôme Latta

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