Beaten by Gwenaëlle Noury for the election at the head of the French Ice Sports Federation, the outgoing president Nathalie Péchalat reacted to RMC Sport after her defeat. She denounces in particular a “humiliating and disrespectful” result, and evokes the role of Didier Gailhaguet in the victory of her rival.
Nathalie Péchalat, what is your first reaction after this election? Is it a surprise?
We knew that the election was going to be complicated, one way or the other. It’s democracy, as long as the result is not in, everything is open. I find this humiliating and disrespectful, given the work we have done collectively over the past two years. That’s the game.
Do you think your work has not been recognized?
I am mixed because the moral report that I presented was validated at more than 90%. On the other hand, trust is not reiterated so conclusions have to be drawn. It is not simple with these two data. I worked hard for two years for the Federation and not for my re-election. Will the promises that have been made be kept? The future will tell.
Is this a step back?
It’s a hell of a step back. What we have done in two years will be swept away. I’m upset, because it’s been days, evenings, weekends (of work). It was intense. Rehabilitate the sport of ice with institutions, private partners… We start from scratch.
Behind this election of Gwenaëlle Noury, there is a man, Didier Gailhaguet. Do you agree ?
I can’t disagree because it was he who led the campaign and made his program. I can’t tell you otherwise. Afterwards, what place will he have, in the shadows or on the front of the stage, I don’t know… Even if he’s only a ghost, it’s an interstellar shame for ice sports.
We feel very touched…
It’s hard because it’s the work of the team. We gave ourselves two years to transform the Federation and we had achieved this transformation. We had rehabilitated the Ice Sports Federation, which had been so often in turmoil. Maybe people have amnesia, but we remember the corruption scandal, the sexual violence scandals, the morality issues. We were out of all that.
How did the people who voted for you react?
I met some club presidents who were in tears, disappointed, sad, others who were very happy. I don’t know what they were promised… The result was 47-53, less than half were disappointed and vice versa.
What message do you want to send to the athletes?
I wish them to focus on their sporting and extra-sporting goals, their career. The Federation is only one support among many others. I can only wish them good luck.
What’s your future ?
I think there are limits to everything, I’m going to take a step back and go back to my life before. I will keep a link with ice sports because it is part of my DNA, but not directly with the Federation, that is not the goal of the game. There will be no recourse, we are in a democracy, I accept the result. I don’t want to get into that. The trouble, I had for two years, we’ll stop there.