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Clarisse Crémer ousted from the Vendée Globe by the Banque Populaire: the president of the race criticizes a “hasty decision”


A dismissal that does not pass. The president of the famous Vendée Globe sailing race, Alain Leboeuf, criticized Friday, February 3 the decision of the Banque Populaire team to separate from its navigator Clarisse Crémer after her maternity, qualifying this decision as “rushed”.

“I don’t understand how we could make a decision like that. (…). There are a lot of races left and Clarisse will be able to do everything necessary to be on the starting line in 2024, I really hope so”, said Mr. Leboeuf in an interview with Agence France-Presse. He added : “Banque Populaire would like to be selected before everyone else. It is not possible. You can’t go around the world alone on the oceans without there being intermediate stages. »

On Thursday, Banque Populaire announced that it was parting with the 33-year-old sailor, considering that she was unable to qualify for the Vendée Globe due to the selection rules put in place for the next edition.

Rules that “prohibit a woman from having a child”

Concretely, skippers who do not have a new boat now have the obligation to participate in a certain number of qualifying races until the start to accumulate miles allowing them to decide between the candidates if their number is greater than 40.

Clarisse Crémer, arrival 12e from the last Vendée Globe, became a mother in December 2022. She was therefore unable to participate in another qualifying race at this stage and is now behind schedule which cannot be recovered, according to her sponsor.

In a message broadcast on Thursday, the navigator lamented being “left behind” by his sponsor and regretted that “the rules chosen by the Vendée Globe prohibit a woman from having a child”.

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During a press conference given on Thursday, Ronan Lucas, director of the Banque Populaire team, tried to justify this decision: “We are at 0 thousand and those in front of us are at 1,600. These people will be doing the same races as us, so we will never catch up with them… And there are 42, 43 people who are in front. »

The sailor’s sponsor claimed to have made “everything possible” with the organizers to change the rules or “to obtain the guarantee of a wild cards » (the awarding of an invitation to a competition for an unqualified athlete), without success, and decided to separate from Clarisse Crémer “with regard to human and financial investments” of a project such as the Vendée Globe.

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“This regulation was voted in 2020, everyone knew it. You cannot change the rules of the game during the game”reacted Friday Alain Leboeuf, considering that the wild cards was not intended to be used before “the end of the selection process” in June 2024.

On social networks, many sportswomen gave their support to Clarisse Crémer on Friday, such as judoka Clarisse Agbégnénou, discus thrower Mélina Robert-Michon or navigator Camille Lecointre.

The tenth edition of the Vendée Globe will set off from Les Sables-d’Olonne on November 10, 2024. During the 2020-2021 edition, 6 of the 33 competitors on the starting line were women.

The World with AFP