Claude Onesta, a hollow voice, an imposing body and an impeccable suit, was interviewed this Tuesday by the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry dedicated to the dysfunction of the Federations. Didier Dinart’s closed-door hearing had just ended, the former coach of the France team (2001-2016) entered the room and was immediately questioned about the “signature issue”. Onesta dedicated a copy of his book in 2014. Reign of freed slaves To Dinart with the following statements: “To Didier, the slave who benefited most from his freedom… I hope he does not return the chains to his players. Best regards, Claude. » He opposed the idea of racism, but Dinart stated: “inexcusable statements” When the dedication issue arose in 2020.
“It emerged today in a much more sensitive context. I wrote this book, and when it came out, I dedicated it very closely to my players. “I thought I realized after six years that this commitment was bothering one of the players.” He announced it in his opening remarks Tuesday, after raising his right hand and vowing to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. “I’ve been marked with this twice. First of all, what I thought was a bond between us was experienced through pain. I am sad. And then being described as potentially racist through inappropriate comments.” he continued. “It was a very painful time. I was supported by most of the players, especially the black players. » THE “actors of color” Luc Abalo, Joël Abati. “They immediately called me. They immediately said: ‘This is not good because we are leaving doubt about this incident, about you as a person. We can testify that we have never felt this way in our relationship.” I could understand the incident later, when I read the article. It can be dedicated and moved out of context. »
President Béatrice Bellamy (Horizons) and rapporteur Sabrina Sebaihi (Ecologist – Nupes) also asked the ANS chief performance officer whether the word was valid. “black” was synonymous with “respect and courtesy”. “I recently learned that this was not said. I have black colleagues in my team at ANS, and everyone was actually under the impression that the term “black” was a juvenile term. One of my colleagues told me that he didn’t say “white” when talking to me and asked why I called him “black”. This is not my generation. We didn’t use that word and it didn’t feel like we were talking to players of other races. »
Claude Onesta was later asked if he had said this to one of his players: “We’ll put the chains back on you.” ” NO. I never used those words. I can’t imagine myself saying that to a player face to face. I don’t think I did, and I can tell you I didn’t.” sworn under oath.
Question asked about the use of the word “black”, Claude Onesta finally got angry: “I won’t repeat the same thing to you for an hour. I find the situation quite disturbing. » Before finally returning to the topic of dedication: “Signature, when I talk to a slave, I’m not talking to a black athlete. In high-level sports, players are seen as subservient actors. Coaches implement their projects and players go through it. Reign of freed slavesThe name of my book is all my players who have been freed from the ties of management, regardless of their color. (…) I wanted to say this to an athlete named Didier: I did not say “Black Didier”, he was a slave among others whose freedom allowed him to reach a level he could not reach before. a closed system. »
“I have always evaluated the players with a common eye and without any discrimination. These criteria have never entered my work in any way. »
And the use of the word “breeding”? “I said different races because you were asking me about people of different races. I don’t know what terminology to use. I don’t think I act according to the players in front of me or their race. I have always evaluated the players with a common eye and without any discrimination. These criteria have never entered my work in any way. There was never anything that made me separate one from the other. » Claudia Rouaux, member of the commission (Socialist) MP and former handball player and manager, came to the rescue and said: “I was shocked” his colleagues’ accusations and ensuring that Claude Onesta was definitely not a racist. “We haven’t used the word race for a long time, it’s indicative of a certain way of thinking.” Sabrina Sebaihi stated.
Following this tense moment, Onesta was questioned about the meeting with the then Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu, which he did not attend. “I don’t remember him offering this to me. He probably mentioned it during an interview, but there was no follow-up. I have no presumption of refusing to meet the minister.” The MPs insisted and Claude Onesta ended the debate with his harsh voice: “You want to portray me as a thug and as someone who has no respect for ministers. That’s enough. » Before getting insurance: “No, I was never officially summoned, otherwise I would have responded to your request and left. »
Claude Onesta said the following about discrimination, or rather the absence of discrimination, at the beginning of the hearing: “Sports is one of the places that has benefited most from the diversity of cultures and origins through colonialism, which has been a part of its history. I have always experienced this diversity of players as an opportunity. The strength of French sport is the diversity of practices and cultures that make it possible to create power through the diversity of solutions offered. Mixed race. I have always experienced team sport as a place where we have the opportunity to put our differences aside and come together in a common project. »