Rugby Festival in Lille: “It’s a duty to transmit”, says Christian Califano

The former player of the XV of France, Christian Califano, is the sponsor of the operation “Lille Métropole Rugby Festival”, organized Thursday, Friday and Saturday, place de la République, in Lille. Promoting his sport, especially among young people, is obvious to him.

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– Why did you agree to sponsor this operation?

” For several reasons. First of all, because Lille is a city driven by rugby. The Top 14 semi-finals of the 2020-2021 season organized at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium proved this in view of the enthusiasm it created. During these three days of festival, it will quite simply be the great celebration of rugby. We are going to talk about a lot of things, including the event that awaits us next year: the World Cup in France.

Afterwards, what we want is to mix all the universes. There will be students, we will talk about women’s rugby, exchange with companies… There is even the Air Force which will be present. We want to bring in a large audience. Personally, I am honored to be the sponsor of this edition, because Lille is a very beautiful city which organizes a lot of things, not just with rugby. »

– Is it important for you to promote rugby in a region where it is not yet deployed at the highest professional level?

“In my time, it was always said that rugby was more in the South West and the South East. It turns out today that in the North there are very good clubs that are starting to grow. It’s true that it would be nice to have a club that emerges at the professional level, like Vannes, in Brittany, which currently plays in Pro D2. During these three intense days, the idea is to leave a mark in this region which deserves to have at least one club in Pro D2. »

– What will be your role during these three days?

“I will be present at all the workshops: activities, debates, inaugurations, exchanges. I don’t want to limit myself. If there are young people dismissed at some point, I will go see them because it is always fascinating for a former player to meet rugby schools, to see how they are developing. And to answer questions from young people like: ”
How do you become a player of the France team? Do you know Antoine Dupont?

(laugh) »

– Promoting rugby to young people who are just starting out or who want to start, is that really something that is close to your heart?

“Yes, because it is our role, the former players. For me, it is a duty of transmission. It’s not just:
It’s good, we’ve finished our little career and we’re leaving.
“The idea is that we can interact with these young people: give keys, answer their questions, etc. »

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