ABFM Meeting with Ligue de Bretagne on 31-10-2018

Hello All – Bonjour a Tous.

Jacqueline, Sheelagh, Jeff & I attended a powerful meeting at the Rennes offices of Ligue de Bretagne. As you may all be aware, the Association has been working hard since inception, to promote the sport in Brittany and elsewhere in the hexagon of France. Various events have helped make great strides in our ambitions, yet other times it has been painstaking to gain the attention of our neighbours in nearby districts. Some of the publicity has been extensive yet, at the same time, some has provided borne little further interest in terms of new groups, players and teams. Our tournaments are getting bigger, yet the potential for growth remains frustratingly infinite. The FFF, French government and Health Department are all showing greater interest and we have had the opportunity to share our knowledge and experiences and look to be of tangible value to these authorities. FFF invited us to a meeting and their agenda is the translated version listed immediately below:

2. PRESENTATION OF THE CLUB Presentation of your club, the genesis of this practice within your club, triggers, slots of practice,
anchoring of the section within your club (for affiliated clubs)
3. STATE OF PLAY Actions on the territory of the League and in parallel
4. RULES OF THE GAME The current rules, the latest modifications or proposals / The inevitable
5. YOUR EXPECTATIONS / YOUR NEEDS Organization, documents, material, training, educational tools …
With regard to: – Your club – Your district – Your league
6. AND TOMORROW? Your vision of the future of football by walking in Brittany and at national level
7. CONCLUDE Presentation FFF on sections leisure – Sport health – Access to practice for all

The day before, there had been a demonstration at Tinteniac with 20 players from there, Bourgbarre and Miniac Morvan. This comprised warm-up, ball skills and a game(s) after. We were pleasantly surprised with the high level of awareness of our activity from within the FFF.
It is apparent that there is a big push for Walking Football from Paris in terms of Government policy, Health Department desire to get the sport “on prescription” and for FFF to be leading the line in spreading the sport nationally. However, they are positive about using our Organisation regionally, supporting us and providing material assistance. They seem genuinely keen to work with ABFM to develop the game for ALL abilities to participate in – Inclusiveness is a key word.

There are two areas that they are concerned with. Licensing of all participants in the sport, players and support staff. However, this may be different (lesser?) in terms of cost and application for Walking Football as opposed to “regular” footballers in French affiliated clubs.
Also, there may be the option for players to try the sport for perhaps 2 months and still benefit from affiliation to a team, before signing on.
Visiting (UK?) teams for tournaments are to be encouraged and not penalised within such a framework.
Secondly, practical assurance protection with easier obtaining of medical certificates, better awareness of doctors of our activities. An option for teams to compete, who are not necessarily part of the FFF pyramid of clubs. They want to promote players of locations in local groupings to minimise transport and create networks for regular (monthly) tournaments etc.

There was a discussion over rules and we think they are looking for a standard list of rules to be easily relayed over a wide spectrum. They are very happy with 3 touch and no intentional contact. We stressed that our rules have evolved for our needs and can be altered as needed.
FFF are keen to avoid the UK problems with 3 different authorities trying to run the sport. Apparently, Belgian fussball has that issue as well.

We were there for over 4 hours, including a lunch, so the meeting was quite intense. Everyone there appeared content with the result.
We have been advised that there will be a fast reaction to the content and further activity between the organisations. We may be approaching the stage where it is necessary to consider separating the business of the Association and the playing squad, for the benefit of all of us.

Regards, John A

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