Exclusive interview

Roxana Maracineanu, French Sport Minister




Named as Sport Minister last September, the former swimmer Roxana Maracineanu was one of the distinguished guests at the “Sport and Employment” conference, co-organised by Sport and Citizenship, the National Profession Sport and Leisure Federation and CoSMoS on 16 January. Shgave us an exclusive insight into her roadmap on jobs entitled “PACK SPORT EMPLOI”




How can the ambitious objectives set for 2024, to make France a more sporting nation, be achieved?

RM: In fixing the objective of an additional 3 million people doing sport, the President of the Republic wishes to find a response to problems of cohesion in our society, to issues of public health and economy, and beyond that, to the question of our country’s image. The aim is for sport to represent 2% of GDP by 2022, as opposed to 1.8% today. It is therefore my duty and my desire to help all those involved in sport to develop, so that the sport economy becomes stronger.


In the space of 20 years, sport has gained a more important place in society. More people want to do sport, which offers great employment opportunities, particularly for young people. How does your ministry intend to support the movement?

RM: The first challenge is organising the Olympic and Paralympic Games (OPG) in Paris in 2024. The sport job policy needs to serve our capacity to succeed in the competitions and at the same time give young people a role and a qualification. Employment in sport is part of our obligation to leave a successful legacy after the Paris 2024 OPG.

Together, we must target an increase in qualified jobs in response to:

-The expectations of French people, with more workplace sport, a better customer experience in the digital age and more open and accessible places to do sport.

-Social issues: increasing the place of sport in school, making sport safer and taking part in care and preventative health policies.

-The need for cohesion: sport can create a social link and it must offer job opportunities to young people where they live, that is to say, in all the regions, with jobs that cannot be delocalised.


Employment in sport is dynamic, but it still suffers from certain structural weaknesses, accentuated by things that are happening at the moment (fall in government assisted contracts, reduced subsidies and so on) which undermine it. How do you see the current situation?

RM: Employment in sport has many strong points. Over the last twenty years there has been continuous growth in the number of employees (+3.5% per year on average, 3 times more than in the economy as a whole).

The National Centre for the Development of Sport (CNDS) plays an active part in qualified employment in sport. It has financed nearly 5,000 jobs, of particular benefit to priority areas, to women’s sport and to people with a disability. 79% of these are permanent jobs, so the scheme is a driving force.

The CNDS will be joining the Sport Agency in the next few weeks, but I can confirm that the volume of jobs supported in 2019 will be maintained.

This dynamic must not conceal the fact that employment in sport is still too fragmented. It is still marked by seasonal and part-time jobs and precarious contracts. Previous state aid schemes in employment have been a real driving force for development, but we need to rely on these less and less.

Our clubs and associations are getting more complex and demanding increased professionalism from employees and managers. We expect them to have an entrepreneurial approach and yet to create social value. We need to help them to reconcile these two objectives.


What will your future actions be?

RM: To unlock the jobs of tomorrow, our roadmap entitled “PACK SPORT EMPLOI” addresses three issues: Supporting, Simplifying, Innovating.

The support will be deployed in three ways: for individuals, for structures and for developing partnerships.

For example, I hope to develop complementary certificates and endow employees with new skills in business activity, communication and development. The certificates should be seen as building blocks to be added to existing professional qualifications. We need to develop a more flexible system in this area.

To support the structures, I will be making 1 million euros available to help construct groupings of non-commercial employers and increase the use of pooled quality jobs. This is a key tool for developing employment.

Concerning partnerships, I am setting up a task-force to develop federal sport services and hybridisation of funding. In the future it will be a question of allying economic and social performance. Some people in the club and association sector have successfully done this and it should be possible to spread good practice.

I will be launching a call for federal and regional experimentation “Social and Solidarity Economy” to enable a change of scale in developing cooperative models and employer groupings.

Simplifying means making the employment environment less complex. I have already launched a project concerning the regulatory proportionality of certification. Today all sport professions obey the same regulations, but not all sports are subject to the same demands. A distinction needs to be made between a sporting performance goal and a leisure activity goal, and the demands and prerogatives must be scaled to the needs of the public.

Simplifying is also continuing my efforts and bringing the words of sport stakeholders into inter-ministerial projects.

When it comes to innovation, I want young people to have innovative qualification paths. With the Minister of Work I ensured that the SESAME scheme was retained as an innovative scheme triggering “Fond Initiative Emploi” credits in a path towards a qualification. Our objective is to see 5,000 young people with an individual qualifications path.

Innovating is also having the courage to change the way associations are organised. For example, by testing social and solidarity economy tools like SCIC or activity and employment cooperatives. This will be the subject of a “solutions meeting on jobs in sport” which we will be holding soon.

For sport and employment in sport to prosper, we need the energy, differences, skills and creativity of each person. Doing better together: that is the motto I am putting forward for this new year.

Sport et citoyenneté