FACT OF THE DAY A new lawn for the OAC, who intends to reconnect with their glorious past

Jérémy Balmy’s technique (rear) will be even more pronounced on Pibaro’s new turf. (Photo by Corentin Migulet)

Olympique d’Alès en Cévennes (OAC), ten points ahead of their runner-up in Agatua with six days left, should soon reach their goal of climbing to the National 2. If they are happy to feel this lift at a sporting level, players, managers and the fans of the club will certainly appreciate the restoration of the Pibaro turf, recorded by the municipality, which decided to support this return of the round ball to the Cévennes.

Irresistible away from home since the start of the season (9 wins, 1 draw), the UAC, who lost only three times in 20 days, lost at home every time (Rhodes II, Agde and Narbonne won against Pibaro). Defeats, after which the press (often) and the players (sometimes) pointed to the state of Alezyan’s field, to put it mildly imperfect. And if it is customary to say that “the field is the same for both teams,” then for someone who takes the game into their own hands, this is a little more of a hindrance.

This often happens to Stefan Sor’s men, who start each match in their lair with the status of a favorite and a team to beat. In this context, and while the Blues’ opponents often choose to skin them to go against them, the undeniable technical prowess of Jeremy Balmy, Lucas Franco and others often clash with false rebounds from Pibaro’s green rectangle, which not long ago resembled a pool table.

Lawn cost: 500,000 euros

Perhaps out of fear that their lead in the rankings would dwindle and that the ascent would elude them, the leaders of the Cévennes became more and more insistent during the winter, so that the municipality, the owner of the stadium, took up the matter. . Forewarned, Ales First Deputy Mayor Christophe Rivenk responded favorably to the oaciens’ requests by including repairs to the Pibaro lawn in the community’s budget.

And if a hybrid turf was considered for some time, then this option was quickly ruled out, considering it too expensive. “All the studies showed that the maintenance of such a surface was difficult and very expensive, costing 300,000 euros per year.”warns the last of those named, who finally decided on a traditional lawn. “Tenders are being held. We will start work as soon as possible.”warns the president of Alès Agglomeration, who is responsible for managing the project for this case, in a joint competence with the city that will finance (the cost is estimated at 500,000 euros).

While the prospect of a first-team advancement has never been more certain, Christoph Rivenck dismisses the hypothesis of a rehab based solely on spectacular sporting performance: “There comes a time when lawns need to be redone, especially when there are mushrooms. Some time ago we made the decision to change it, to mount or not to mount, even if the good results are sure to speed up the process. »

30 years later

Nearly 30 years after it was completely redone for the Mediterranean Games in 1993, the turf at La Prairie will be getting a summer makeover. Which clearly pleases the fans of Alesian, led by Laurent Ivaldi. “City Hall sends a strong message when we know how much it costs for a municipality of 40,000 residents”– he said on the set Good evening Guard in the debate opposing him to Jérôme Arpinon.

Philippe Mallaroni, CEO of OAC, has long campaigned for the renovation of the Pibaro Meadow, also welcoming the news with open arms: “With a beautiful lawn, one can imagine organizing friendly gala matches to have a great football party. So far this has seemed very difficult to me. There will be new opportunities on our way! »

Pragmatic sporting director Jean-Marie Pasqualetti sees it primarily as a means of responding to restrictions: “It’s always nicer to play on a beautiful turf, but besides whether we’re going to change our game philosophy or not, you should know that the higher your level, the higher the level of football authorities’ requirements in terms of turf stands specification. »

Inevitable move

A clarification that is important when we know that the Oakians will have to go into exile from time to time. Indeed, the construction site at the Stade Pier Pibaro, scheduled to open in July, should make the new turf impassable before the onset of winter. “Inevitably, for the first four or five home games of the season, you will have to choose the option of moving. This is a limitation that we are happy to face as we asked for a new turf.”puts Philip Mallaroni in perspective.

That is why, if by some unknown tragedy the OAC does not rise at the end of the season, the Cévennes will have the opportunity to start the 2022/2023 exercise on the synthetic Saint-Jean-du-Pins approved for National 3. And here is the lighting of the Plaine-de-Plo stadium no, which would force the club to schedule their home matches during daylight hours. On the other hand, in the event of a move to the National 2, which remains the most likely option to date, the Oaciens will be forced to start their season elsewhere than Ales, since no other stadium in the city where Pibaro is located is authorized to host sports events of this level. At the time of this writing, the Pautex stadium in Uzès seems to be holding on to a rope to welcome the “exiles”, but Alesian’s leadership, which he prefers to provide “finish work in the league”indicates that “nothing decided”.

Once changed, the Alesian Green Rectangle will need to be retained if it covets the same longevity as its predecessor. In order to keep it before matches, the club’s first team will have to consider moving to another location during the week. “Pibaro is the first step. It is also necessary that the idea of ​​the municipality in the long term is to improve all areas of the city so that we can train in good conditions.”therefore fighting Jean-Marie Pasqualetti.

UAC will soon turn 100 years old

There is a time for everything, but there is no doubt that the idea will materialize when the time comes in the minds of local elected officials, who are becoming more and more numerous to fill the stands during matches. A sign, no doubt, of a new attraction for the OAC. In any case, here is what Laurent Ivaldi, a member of the heritage of the Cop Sevenols, says: “We’ve been through the wilderness since filing for bankruptcy in 2003. We have lost generations of supporters in these 20 years of purgatory. But things have gotten better since the club announced the ambitious project two years ago. (Cap 2024, ed.) which consists of placing the OAC at the National for two years. »

And while we will certainly never again see 17,000 people invest again in the hills of La Prairie to support the Cévennes, as they did in 1987 during the Coupe de France semi-final between Ales and Bordeaux, the OAC, which will celebrate its 100 -anniversary next year he has the opportunity to fill the Pibarot stand (3800 places) more than this season. With the good weather on the way and the sickness gone for a few weeks, the last three games to be played at home provide just as many opportunities to see the Blues play, pushing them to the top. “Football is a team sport. I usually say that it is a public good that everyone appropriates a little. No wonder the fans say “we won.” Everyone goes their own way, and supporters are obviously important.concludes Philippe Mallaroni in the form of an invitation.

Corentin Migule