towards a systematic control of volunteers

Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu admits that work is on the way “Colossal”. At the National Convention for the Prevention of Sexual Violence in Sport, organized on February 21 in Paris, the former swimmer confirmed that she wanted to extend the “honorability check” to volunteers working in clubs. That’s about 1.8 million people, if you look at coaches and managers alone.

→ READ. Faced with revelations of sexual crimes, sports federations in doubt

For now, the measure is systematic for professional sports educators and operators of establishments of physical and sporting activities. In order to check whether they are able to exercise their skills, the administration consults the bulletin n ° 2 of the criminal record (B2) and the automated national judicial file of the authors of sexual or violent offenses (FIJAISV), the latter also mentioning indictments and non-final convictions.

No one can in fact train or supervise if he has been the subject of a conviction for a crime or for certain offenses, in particular sexual assault. The interrogation of the files by the State services to meet this obligation of good repute is automated. It is carried out when a sports instructor applies for the professional card, valid for five years, that a club is supposed to apply for before using it. Since 2016, 104 people have been sidelined due to a conviction appearing in the FIJAISV, according to the sports ministry.

An experiment carried out in the Center-Loire Valley

However, for volunteers, including unpaid sports educators, this check is not systematic. But association leaders can ask the administration to consult the B2 and the FIJAISV if they feel the situation warrants it. It is this approach that Roxana Maracineanu wants to generalize, while revelations concerning sexual violence have multiplied in recent weeks.

The idea is not new. She was already defended by the Colossus with clay feet association, which acts for the prevention and awareness of pedophile risks. The Minister also mentioned it in November 2018 during a round table. She then announced an experiment aimed at “Screen volunteers”, which was set up in October 2019 within the football league of the Center-Val de Loire region.

→ READ. Sexual violence in skating marks the end of Didier Gailhaguet’s reign

Since then, volunteers have been subject to the same regime as professionals. All are systematically checked. Out of the first 3,500 files studied, the process has already brought up 20 cases leading to a “Incapacity” to exercise, 19 for traffic offenses and one for pedocrime. This situation concerned the secretary of a small club, condemned for a case outside the life of the association.

A new point planned for May

The test must be conducted in Center-Val de Loire until April. It will then be extended to the entire French Football Federation, a structure that brings together 2.2 million licensees, 400,000 volunteers and 14,000 clubs. For Roxana Maracineanu, this “Will give a good indicator of how it can happen”. The last step will therefore be to generalize, over time, this system to all of sport, a universe which counts 180,000 associations.

→ READ. Sexual violence: athletes publish a forum to “break the silence”

This filtering also has its limits. The names of sex offenders who have never been convicted or who have never been investigated do not appear in the files, and volunteering is a vast world with blurred contours. A host of anonymous figures appear alongside duly identified coaches, presidents, treasurers and secretaries. The restitution of the work and reflections launched by this first convention on the prevention of sexual violence in sport is scheduled for next May.

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