Marcq-en-Barœul accelerates to become the first club in Hauts-de-France in Pro D2

The Northwest club, which accesses the National 2 (4e division), continues its irresistible ascension. He has just launched a fundraiser with a clear goal: to access the Top 14 antique room as quickly as possible.

Until Marcquois Rugby Olympics, 150e in the hexagonal hierarchy five years ago? The Marcq-en-Barœul club, in the lilloise neighborhood, has since englouti three divisions and has just joined the National 2 (4e division). And the account will not stop there, as its president, Olivier Gradel, confirmed in Figaro. « There are two seasons set to go National. Deux à trois de plus pour came with the Pro D2. After all, there is the structuring of the project and there is the certainty of the sport. One can be better organized and, at times, stumble on the ground. It will probably have to wait a little longer …He would swear that it is not written in the roadmap of this ambitious and pressured leader, who resumed in 2018 at a club showing € 1.8 M in debt, as well as the portfolio of projects to make the OMR the flower of northern rugby.

Debuting in April, he thus launched a fundraiser, playing on local fiber to increase capital, of which he is the principal shareholder on the association’s side. «He is looking for 1.5 million euros in the first place. A second identical fundraiser will be launched in two years to complete.»At that march. «Finally, it will be halfway through the objective with people who put people between 1,000 and 50,000 euros. I think it will be in early September. We are in discussions with investment funds capable of making the bascule.There are a dozen investors weighing 60 to 70% of this first installment (against a hundred others, more modest). «Profiles attached to the territorial identity of the project”Explains the manager. Including for the largest contributors. «Members of the Mulliez family (who hold, among others, the teachers Auchan, Decathlon, Boulanger, Flunch…, the last three being already sponsors of the club, NDLR) will enter the capital as shareholders.»

This money, Olivier Gradel already knows how to use it: “the establishment of a training center to be more active with young people; the strengthening of the administrative structure, especially the commercial cell; the recruitment of experienced players.One more step into a club already amazingly structured for the level at which it develops. «Sa a really worked on communication strategy and put in place an administrative and financial structure guaranteeing a supervised and intelligent management.The club, which will pass 80%professional status, will next season have a budget of € 2.5 M (including € 500,000 for the operation of the amateur association). «It will be in the top 3 of the National 2 budgets …»

On the infrastructure side, the OMR can be jealous

On the infrastructure side as well, the OMR can be well susceptible to jealousy. «His is extremely gated, recognizes Olivier Gradel. It takes place at the Villeneuve-d’Ascq stadium, worthy of some Top 14 and Pro D2 clubs.Currently in the renovation phase, the company hopes to host a selection base camp at the 2023 World Cup.And then, in Marcq-en-Barœul, the historic heart of the club, we now have, thanks to the help of the MEL, the Region and the City (who invested 3 M €, NDLR) of all new installations: a superb clubhouse, seven wardrobes and three grounds, including a synthetic one. This allows us to work in exceptional conditions.»

“We are working hand in hand with clubs around and the Ligue des Hauts-de-France to make young people shine. After that, you have to be able to keep them. »

Olivier Gradel

With a perfectly framed strategic axis: prioritize local talents. «He works hand in hand with clubs around and the Ligue des Hauts-de-France to make young people shine. After that, you have to be able to keep them. For ten years, every year, between 15 and 20 gamins with strong potential leave the region, marched by Top 14 clubs at Pro D2. We can’t stop them from leaving. But if we propose a quality project, half will be left to strengthen our foundation “, Hopes Olivier Gradel.

A said regional anchor that suspends «the participation of territorial communities since the launch of the project. The European Metropole Lilloise (MEL) in the region have supported us since the beginning because they own a large rugby club north of Paris, its 5e metropol of France. Our strength is to join the clubs of the Metropole (at number eight, NDLR), but also more widely: Valenciennes, Saint-Omer, Hazebrouck … The higher there will be, the more there will be a large audience, including Belgium». The Marcquois Olympics thus recently protested the access barricade against Oloron in front of 4,000 supporters. A nice score for a match of 4e division

An interest for the oval balloon that is supposed to explode in 2023. “Lille has the chance to host five World Cup matches. There will be a rugby festival on Republic Square. We hope to double the number of licensees in Upper France (10,500 today, NDLR) in the next three years. Still with this tropism of strong local identity, Olivier Gradel is ambitious to make a comeback.well -known players, bridge heads from the regionRecalling that one «Fifty Top 14 and Pro D2 players start rugby in Upper France». This is the case of the Tolofua brothers, talonneur Christopher (RCT) at the third-line Selevasio (Stade Toulousain), formed in Marcq-en-Barœul. «Maybe we can succeed in making them come back”Dreams the president of the OMR.

The episode of the move of the Biarritz Olympique to Lille as a “sinkhole”

The episode of the move from Biarritz Olympique to Lille last summer, which seems to have preceded Olivier Gradel’s ambitions, is now far away. The conductor now evokes this hypothesis as a coincidence. «A trampoline. It has alerted us. We were not in the presence of an ” OPA ”. It pushed us to speed up our structuring, to create an SA, to launch this fundraiser because, in any project, the nerve of the war remains the money. Yes, that pushed us into question, to go faster.Was the danger real? He smiled. «I still have a hard time believing in the reality of the project, that such a transfer would have been possible. This would have created a jurisprudence that would have been a sacred brothel. The FFR would no doubt allow it because it would have been the open door to everyone. But I understand what BO shareholders live. They put a lot of money, I had promises on investment returns that weren’t kept.»

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