Despite AS Monaco Volleyball women’s team maintaining their spot in Elite, the second national division, and enjoying the finest hours of its history, they are now in serious danger. Without a quick solution to their financial worries, the club may soon cease to exist.
Smiling through the pain. Whilst the Rock’s volleyball players made a huge achievement by holding onto their place in the second division, after a historic climb up through the ranks last year, the club, created in 1952, has had a difficult season and still faces many tough challenges ahead.
We have had a horrendous seasonGilles Brillant, President of AS Monaco Volleyball
“We have had a horrendous season,” revealed the club’s President, Gilles Brillant. The safety measures, in place due the pandemic, have forced the club to remain shut since October 2020 and to play all their matches behind closed doors. “We’ve had a lost year with no income from our licence holder members, and yet our first teams’ championships (both men’s and women’s) have gone ahead. The crisis has resulted in us losing our sponsors and we received less public grants,” he said. “If we don’t find a solution very quickly, the club will no longer have any management. All the managers and volunteers are exhausted.”
AS Monaco Volleyball, first women’s team in the Principality
In other sports, most championships for amateur and semi-professional players have either been postponed or cancelled. However our the country’s professional teams continued to compete. AS Monaco Volleyball teams battled on throughout the season, having to make do with reduced budgets and endure long plane journeys. The season has been particularly difficult for the women’s side, who have had to travel all over France, by plane, to get to their various matches. All of this, it must be added, was done on the smallest budget given to any team playing at this level in France.
“The girls worked really hard, as did the boys, who have represented the Principality admirably throughout the entire season. But now we don’t have long to find the resources we need, at a time when businesses are concerned, first and foremost, with keeping their employees’ jobs safe.” Despite having discreetly appealed to the government several times, AS Monaco Volleyball has received no help.
Monaco’s National Council to meet with the club
“Our girls are advancing to a really high level, but our public grants are so much less than those given to other sports,” explained Gilles Brillant. “We are being left behind, despite volleyball being the most played team sport in schools.” The club had no income for more than two years now and it lost its playing field on Larvotto beach due to building works, a place “which accounted for all or almost all of [their] revenue”. Now AS Monaco Volleyball, which had nearly 530 paying members before the crisis, may soon find themselves wiped out after this challenging season.
A lot of promises were made to us, but nobody has delivered…Gilles Brillant, President of AS Monaco Volleyball
“Indoor sports were not allowed to take place for a whole year. Our women’s team have just managed to maintain their position, but it’s unclear if they will be able to do the same next year. We are faced with a lot of uncertainty and no significant action is being taken. A lot of promises were made to us, but nobody has delivered…”. A meeting with President of Monaco’s National Council, Stéphane Valeri, is scheduled for the near future, to try and find a quick solution. In the meantime, volunteers continue their fight to find new sponsors. For now, the survival of AS Monaco Volleyball hangs in the balance.
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