for large public investment in sports equipment

Jean Damien Lese for Localtis

This is a call for massive investment in sports equipment, an investment that must come from the state as well as the private sector, which Moselle MP Belhir Belhaddad is signing in his report titled “What Equipment for a Sports Nation?” published on Friday. March 4, in Metz, to Roxane Marachinyan, Minister Delegate in charge of sports.

The mission, commissioned by the Prime Minister in December 2021, was to develop “the main directions of an orientation plan regarding sports equipment in order to provide a reliable economic model for this equipment with the attraction of public loans. , local authorities, federations and the commercial sector.

triple challenge

Before moving on to solutions, the report makes a grim but far from unprecedented observation: “France is facing a triple challenge with its sports infrastructure.” First, the quantitative challenge: “The country lacks equipment capable of supporting new methods and making our country a ‘sports nation’.” This is followed by a qualitative objective: “The existing infrastructure is becoming obsolete and does not need to be maintained.” Thus, of the 272,000 built sports facilities owned by local authorities, almost 40% were built before 1985, and 70% have never been overhauled. Finally, the territorial challenge: “The current equipment layout does not provide a fair and balanced network for the country.” And the speaker should indicate “particularly scarce” areas: priority city micro-districts (KPV), village revival areas (RRR) and overseas territories. He even highlights the “particularly degraded” situation of the pools, 62% of which were built before 1985.

Based on this triple observation, Belheer Belhaddad’s first recommendation is not financial in nature, but concerns the Sports Equipment Inventory (RES), which is currently being piloted by the Ministry of Sports and which “seems to have reached its limit.” The report refers to this as “failures in collection methodology and depletion of human resources”. So he asks to be transferred to the National Sports Agency (ANS). The transfer, which, in particular, will aim to create a tool that meets the needs of the ANS and will allow the agency, the operator of the state to finance the equipment, to better coordinate its actions in the territory.

Sports policy expenses

But most of the recommendations relate to the financing of equipment and the criteria that should guide its provision. The speaker returns to the Local Sports Equipment 5000 Program, a €200 million public funding over three years to repair and re-qualify local equipment and purchase mobile equipment. In his opinion, it is necessary to reconsider the perimeters of zoning and the very definition of projects that are likely to be assisted. It actually emphasizes that if the validity of the plan applies to 80% of the territory, it concerns only 18% of the population, and also excludes urban development of the active design type.

But this plan must be exceeded to meet the unmet need for more structured sports equipment. More generally, the report recommends that eligible projects be part of a “global and end-to-end approach from the design to operation of sports equipment, including support and the search for innovative sources of funding.”

And Belheer Belhaddad elaborated: “Animation and equipment operation are too often left out of sports policy when they largely determine the lifespan of infrastructure.” Decision of the deputy Moselle: “Support for economic peace with the local authorities with the project.”

Programming law

We then come to the central issue of funding, which should be based on “better planning of public appropriations and increased transparency of funding”. [afin] to support community investment operations.” Not forgetting “new private funding, in particular through sports sponsorship”.

According to the speaker, the 5,000-unit local sports equipment program and its 200 million are only “the first step before the introduction of an active and massive sports infrastructure investment plan.” At the end of its rollout, in 2024, Belhir Belhaddad is campaigning for a 2025-2030 programming law that will provide sports equipment funding of up to €500 million a year, a budgetary effort that the mission considers “significant but sustainable for the state.”

In addition to this amount, which would be an unprecedented shock in terms of investment – all packages allocated to sports equipment, including under the Recovery Plan, amount to 400 million euros for the period 2022-2024 – this program should be accompanied by “strengthening responsible and a sustainable procurement policy that integrates building energy performance criteria and promotes a common cost approach to anticipate operation, operation and maintenance.”

This parliamentary report – the first of its kind to focus solely on equipment – further encourages reflection on “viewing sports equipment policy as a tool in the service of regional planning and the optimization of existing land.” As such, he plans to promote practices such as active design or wasteland transformation by changing urban planning rules.

After all, some of his proposals, such as opening the school premises to other audiences, have just been recorded in the recent sport modernization law. Others, such as the introduction of 1% athletes in construction, modeled after the cultural 1%, have already been the subject of inconclusive debate. As for the boldest ones, such as the law on programming and its annual appropriation of 500 million euros, they can serve as the red thread of the sports policy of the next five years …