March 13, 2020
Rivère: ‘our only priority is health and safety’
Jean-Pierre Rivère, accompanied by Patrick Vieira and Jean-Philippe Gilardi, head of the Gym's medical service, held a special press conference on Friday. In the midst of the health crisis linked to Covid-19, the OGC Nice Chairman has set up a collective framework with a double objective: to adapt to the evolution of events and to preserve the health of the Club's employees.
What do you think about the suspension of the Ligue 1 championship?
It makes sense. There's some very important health data here. It's obvious that this is something we can't control. The suspension was the best decision we've made so far and that decision was unanimous, there wasn't even a debate between us. These are exceptional circumstances and we must take the necessary measures. Our only concern today is the health of everyone and of the players. A framework has been put in place by the doctor. Maybe it won't be the same in three days. We have to adapt and evolve with this phenomenon.
Why was this decision a little long in coming?
We made the decision on Tuesday to go behind closed doors. Last night there was a presidential address with very clear measures, especially for schools and children. We cannot ignore that. What was true three days ago is no longer true today, and what is true today may not be true tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We're facing an evolutionary phenomenon, we're trying to adapt as best we can. Decisions have been made today, and I do not know whether they will be confirmed tomorrow, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.
Some clubs might suspend training, others might continue despite everything. No one today has the perfect solution and the right answer. Giving the Club a framework of rigidity and increased control can allow the outside world to keep in mind this whole notion of control and surveillance. But again, everything can change. Maybe the coach will come on Monday and tell us that training is suspended. Right now, we're in that pattern. We'll evolve as we go along. Right now, the only people left at the club are the people who work directly with the professional players.
THE ENTIRE POPULATION IS AFFECTED. WE HAVE STAND TOGETHER
Are you in contact with the LFP?
There are no LFP guidelines, but we are obviously in constant contact because it is very evolutionary. Let's imagine that a player is carrying the virus, what we're telling you here will no longer be valid and we'll put everyone in quarantine. Unfortunately, we don't have a crystal ball. We don't know how things will evolve or what special cases might arise. We simply have to be ready to adapt. After that, it's not just football. The whole population is affected. We have to show solidarity with what's happening all over the country. The economic consequences are for everyone. Everyone tries to manage events as best they can.
If the championship can't be resumed, how can the final standings be determined?
We've been talking about these issues this morning, but no one has the answer to that question and many others. We have dates, for example 30 June, because some players are at the end of their contracts. These are all issues that we'll solve as we go along. We'll adapt. Will the epidemic be over in two weeks, one month, four months? No one has the answer. If I told you something, I'd necessarily be wrong.
So the championship can't go beyond June 30th?
Well, you never know, but it looks complicated to me. Once again, I'm not certain. Maybe UEFA will postpone the Euro until next year, which would effectively allow us to play in May or June, something that was not planned. It could be an option. But for now, these are secondary issues because the priority is to manage the spread of this virus. Afterwards, we'll have time to ask ourselves the questions and I hope we'll find the solutions and answers.