Just a week before the start of the CEV Volleyball European Championship, co-organized by France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Slovenia, one of the star of France National Team, Earvin Ngapeth, criticized the way national federation governs the Volleyball in the country in an interview for Le Figaro. He was also shooting poisonous arrows at himself.
Ngapeth was asked by Le Figaro journalist if the organization of the 2019 EuroVolley can help to improve the reputation of Volleyball in France.
“If we are on the podium, it’s possible. And that’s essential. Even more for us, volleyball players. In Montpellier, for the first round of the EuroVolley, it’s possible that no one will be in the stands. If we fail in the eighth-finals, this EuroVolley will worth nothing. We know from the beginning that everything goes around results, which means a presence in Bercy (in Paris) for the last four. But in sport, the results are not guaranteed, and obviously we can lose before that,“ he said.
In addition, the 28-year-old outside hitter said that young French players are not protected at home because sponsors influence clubs to hire foreign players even though their quality is sometimes under the quality of domestic players. So, French players are forced to improve themselves abroad. Ngapeth blamed the French League and federation for not pressuring clubs to put more domestic players on the court. He named competitions in Poland and Italy, especially national cups, as examples of protecting domestic players:
“The public doesn’t want to see that. Young French players go abroad because they aren’t protected here. This impacts a lot on empty stands“.
According to the words of Ngapeth, one-time European champion and two-time World League winner, that is the reason why organizers in Montpellier have difficulties to sell tickets for the Preliminary Round of the 2019 EuroVolley.
“Obviously, the general public doesn’t know us. They know me and it’s because I’ve done bullshit. That’s why. If my name comes first, is it solely due to volleyball or other things (aggression against the controller, car accident that caused three injuries …)? It’s unfortunate, it’s my fault, but it’s like that. People don’t talk about me for what I can do on the court. As for the French team and volleyball, we talk about the summer with the big competitions and then after, we totally disappear from radars from October to June.“
Moreover, Ngapeth stressed that filled stands at the Final Six of the 2018 FIVB Nations League in Lille do not prove anything because the tournament was organized by the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) who is better than the French federation.
Source: Sport 24 – Le Figaro.