Ludovic Radosavljevic – Dismissed from the field in September 2021 following racist remarks made against a player from Nevers, he put on his cleats a year later. From now on, the scrum half extends to Federal 3 with Avignon-le Pontet, his favorite club.
How did you experience your dismissal and the period that followed?
Hard. It was very hard. I did something stupid that cost me very, very dearly. A little too much for my taste, but I don’t think I’m someone who feels sorry for myself and hides. I screwed up and took it. I suspected that after my dismissal from Aix, professional rugby would be over for me. It was a complicated moment because beyond the suspension, I lost my job. My life plan was not planned like that, it impacts a lot of things and my family life too. Now it’s behind me.
After your suspension, did you retrain immediately?
I had already started my conversion. I bought a beer bar in Avignon four months before I was made redundant, so that allowed me to spend all my time on this new project. My little brother is an ironworker so I bought a machine, which is a digital plasma and which allows me to complete my brother’s activity.
You also discovered rugby union last season. How did you live this experience?
Honestly it was awesome! It’s an opportunity that was a little short since I was suspended at thirteen too. I only had the chance to play one game but I trained all season with them. I had a lot of preconceptions about rugby league. In fact, I liked it a lot. SO Avignon XIII is a healthy club that has done everything to get me back on track. It is also not impossible that I return. I keep a very good memory.
You have just started the season with your first club, Avignon-Le Pontet, in Fédérale 3. How did you come back?
Avignon-Le Pontet is my training club, so it was a simple return. I had to give back to the club what it had given me when I was younger. I have my friends who play here, it was the logical continuation. Getting back together with my little brother was also important. I’m proud to be able to play with him.
Why was it so important for you to continue playing rugby?
I don’t know if it’s a war of egos but for me, my story with rugby is not over. I’m a rugby kid, I started playing at the age of three so ending up like that, for me, was unthinkable. I’m not revengeful against anyone but I didn’t want to leave that image of me. And I want to show everyone that it’s all well and good to have courage on the internet, but I’m here and I’ve assumed everything from the start. If there are people who have things to tell me, they could come and tell me on the pitch.
When you put on the crampons, did you have any reluctance?
Maybe it’s boat what I’m going to say. It will certainly ring false but what happened that day, on the ground, is the opposite of who I really am. I have the wires that touched on an action. Chambering in no way excuses the words I had. Even me, afterwards, I blamed myself. All people who are in the world of rugby know very well how it happens on a field. Every game there are clashes. I did interviews, I was censored everywhere, except in the Midi Olympique. Yes, I screwed up but I’ve always been good within my teams. I’ve never been a great player but I’ve always been the one who unites in the locker room, who welcomes the new…
Your first league match in Sète last weekend was a bit hectic…
It is posed, what happened on the ground. I have been insulted as fascist and racist many times. If people think I’m going to escape, I never will. I played that game, we won and that’s it. I got caught the whole game. There was a fight at the end: I was summoned when I did absolutely nothing. I didn’t want to get upset, I knew I shouldn’t give anything to anyone. But they attack me on what may have happened before. Let it be said: I am ready for all collapses and I will not back down from anyone.
You explain that your history with rugby is not over: would you like to play pro again?
I’m not going to hope for someone to call me, that would be me lying to myself. If I ever have an opportunity, of course I will return. But I know full well that it is impossible. It’s like that. I am a competitor, I like all sports. I have to play and win, I need it.
How did your integration into Avignon-Le Pontet go?
It’s my lifelong club, it’s cool, I feel good there. I am at home, at home. I know the club like the back of my hand, my dad trained, my mom was a manager, my brother plays there. It’s my home, I didn’t even think about integrating, it was natural. I was welcomed without judgment because they are the only ones who really know me.
Are there any sides of professional rugby that you miss?
The amateur world is friends. It’s a passion sport. What I miss is the level of play. It is not comparable. In my career, I had the chance to play all over Europe, to be able to win at Munster, at Leinster. I had the chance to travel thanks to this. I also miss the stadium atmosphere. In three years, I went from the Stade de France to the Stade de Sète. (laughs) That’s how my story was written like that.
What are the objectives with Avignon-Le Pontet?
The club has moved up to Federal 3 this year, so our ambition is first to have fun together. Afterwards, I imagine that we will make a point halfway through. For the moment we have to hold on and if we have the chance to aim a little higher, we’ll see.
What do you want to bring to this team?
A little experience. A little technical, I don’t know. The coaches are more than competent, the players too. Me, I don’t interfere but if I can bring a little more serenity, so much the better.
With Avignon-Le Pontet, you are versatile and you find the position of opening half?
I am training fly half, I went to the scrum when I arrived at Clemront. It’s not a new position for me, I played there in Castres and Aix too. I like this versatility and then now that I’m a little older, I prefer to play ten. You run a little less while in nine, you run a little too much. I’ve run enough all my life! (laughs)