In the midst of controversy, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra settles her accounts

It is an understatement to say that Amélie Oudéa-Castéra wanted to settle scores on Tuesday January 30 on the occasion of the wishes of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF)

In the midst of controversy, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra settles her accounts

It is an understatement to say that Amélie Oudéa-Castéra wanted to settle scores on Tuesday January 30 on the occasion of the wishes of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). In front of the packed amphitheater made up of the main players in French sport – including the president of the CNOSF, David Lappartient, and the head of the Organizing Committee for the Paris 2024 Games, Tony Estanguet –, the Minister of National Education, Youth, Sports and the Olympic and Paralympic Games has methodically responded to the accusations she has faced since expanding her portfolio on January 11.

On the controversy arising from his criticism of public school and the schooling of his children at Stanislas, a conservative private Parisian establishment. Amélie Oudéa-Castéra still cannot, she says, apologize for having mentioned her “memories of mother”. “I did not behave like a good person,” added the minister, who immediately after her “mea culpa”, accuses some, again after the general policy speech of the Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, of making she “the symbol of a privileged caste to be fought, to be destroyed.” “The only thing I inherited from my family is the love of a job well done,” insisted the minister, visibly moved and determined.

Amélie Oudéa-Castéra began her speech by quoting the first lines of If, the poem by Rudyard Kipling, “the one that ends with You will be a man, my son”. It hung on her bedroom wall when “[she] was little.” The minister says she has thought about it a lot in recent days, caught in the middle of a political storm.

“I will not let the sport be insulted.”

In her momentum, Ms. Oudéa-Castéra, her hands firmly clinging to the desk, launched her counter-offensive against the report made public on January 23 by the commission of inquiry into the dysfunctions of sports federations. Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, personally criticized over the amount of her salary in parliamentary work, said she was disappointed that “the 250-page report was biased”. She had called it “militant” shortly before its publication.

A report which, according to her, is only a “copy and paste” in part of proposals that she had made while she was directing the association Rénovons le sport français, she denounced. A report which accuses French sport of “inertia”, “which ignores all the advances” made by the sports movement in terms of ethics and probity, while “Roxana [Maracineanu, minister of sports from 2018 to 2022 ] and I fought like lionesses.”

Stupor in the room. “I like to be challenged. I am happy to serve as a lightning rod but I will not let sport be insulted,” concluded, combative, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, warmly applauded by an audience who supported her during the weekend in a column signed by a fifty sports leaders.

Present in the room, the deputies Béatrice Bellamy (Horizons, Vendée) and Sabrina Sebaihi (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, Hauts-de-Seine), respectively president and rapporteur of the commission of inquiry, accept. The second will even go to explain herself to the minister at the end of the speech. Lively exchanges between the two women. “His speech was lamentable, I told him that excitement does not excuse everything, it is indecent and disrespectful for the work of parliamentarians. And she could have had a word for the victims who were interviewed as part of the commission of inquiry, which she did not do,” reacted Sabrina Sebaihi, who made an appointment with the minister as soon as Wednesday January 31 during questions to the government.

Smiles on the faces of those responsible for the sports movement, clearly not unhappy with the exit of Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. “She was with family, she had things to say,” summarizes, satisfied, a close friend of the minister.