“A fine example of integration”: the football club of a village in Indre saved by asylum seekers

by time news

Behind the handrail, Bernadette is all smiles: “I was a player, manager, I ran the bar… This club is 102 years old but, without the migrants, it would no longer exist. We can say thank you! The US Argy (Indre), which evolves in the fourth departmental division, has indeed failed. Lack of licensees. “At the end of last summer, we ended up with only six players. We were going to put the club to sleep, ”explains its president, Jean-Marie Biaunier, 62, locksmith metalworker.

It was counting without the proposal of one of the players to bring his friends, for the most part housed in a reception center for asylum seekers. The idea matured. The young people came to a general assembly. The current immediately passed between them and the leaders.

“It matched immediately”

“We saw players of seven different nationalities arrive, Gambian, Malian, Guinean, Salvadoran, Colombian, Ivorian, Haitian… They met in the parks to play football after work. They wanted to play in the league. But setting up a structure is complicated. We had it but we had no more players. It matched right away. It was football that united us. The adventure has been going on for almost a year,” relates Jean-Marie Biaunier.

“We have more nationalities than Berrichonne de Châteauroux, the flagship club of the department! We set up the team in a fortnight,” underlines Michel Manique, delivery driver and team trainer. “We are happy to render this service to the club. Next season, we will do everything to reach the top division, ”promises midfielder Ali, a 19-year-old Ivorian. “We are a real family! says Charly, a 24-year-old Colombian asylum seeker.

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“Will they come regularly? There was a bit of doubt at the start”, concedes Bernadette Villemont, the mayor of Argy, before adding: “They were able to respond positively! It is a fine example of integration. Since then, we talk about the town and there are more and more spectators on Sundays! » she congratulates herself.

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