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Why the Le Havre field hockey team can no longer play on the new pitch

The HAC Field Hockey has not re-registered its flag team in National 3 since it does not know if it will be able to resume the 2021-2022 season. (©Cédric Grenet/ HAC Field Hockey)

Everything was going so well for the HAC Field Hockey. A year and a half ago, it had about 70 licensees and its seniors played in National 3. But now, today, the club is still not reaffiliated with the French Hockey Federation, cannot accept any license, see many of its members turn to other clubs, even different sports, and withdrew its flag team from the championship, “to be sure not to be fined”. As a result, it is automatically demoted to the regional division. How did the club come to this?

The mayor’s promise

It all started in 2006, when he decided to leave his historic ground, on which he had been playing for more than 70 years, located rue Maurice-Genevoixfor the Clatot stadium. “A temporary solution, specifies Clément Parmain, employed trainer of the club. In 2012, just before the municipal election, Edouard Philippe announced the constriction of a hockey field. Good news, given that Clatot’s condition is seriously deteriorating. “On paper, this project is just brilliant,” confirms Cédric Grenet, member of the board of directors.

Thing promised, thing due: the new land is delivered, at the Yuri-Gagarin stadium, and the Hac field hockey is in “a positive dynamic, remembers Clément Parmain. It was perfect, we have never been so numerous in training. »

Weather and vandalism

The concern is that its approval is directly challenged by the Federation. At the end of July 2021, the town hall begins work. But the ground remains impassable and it is necessary “to wait for favorable weather conditions (correct temperatures and no humidity) to allow the company to work in the best conditions”, explains the City of Haven.

Work remains to be done on the grounds of the Yuri-Gagarin sports complex.
Work remains to be done on the grounds of the Yuri-Gagarin sports complex. (©Cédric Grenet/ HAC Field Hockey)

To make matters worse, on the night of August 10 to 11, the stock of equipment needed to repair the land was vandalized. “Drums of products were pierced and spilled, materials were soiled… The work of the company could therefore not resume, continues the town hall. The necessary products and materials were immediately ordered and awaiting delivery (products in high demand on the market). »

The City estimates that the work will be finished on time.  The club replies that the necessary corrections are much greater than those planned.
The City estimates that the work will be finished on time. The club replies that the necessary corrections are much greater than those planned. (©Cédric Grenet/ HAC Field hockey)

“A hockey field is not a football field”

The City ensures that “three-quarters of the recoveries have been made” and estimates “one week the time necessary, subject to good weather conditions, to complete this project”. Clément Parmain, he imagines much larger works: “We have to remove all of the carpet, redo the underlay where there are defects and put a new carpet since everything has been damaged. “Especially since, for the moment, the field is one of the pre-selected sites to appear as a rear base for the field hockey teams for the 2024 Olympic Games.

The other practical field for field hockey in the region is in Yvetot...
The other field hockey pitch in the region is in Yvetot… (©Cédric Grenet/ HAC Field Hockey)

“A hockey field is not a football field, warns Cédric Grenet. It is a particular equipment with different types of materials compared to a synthetic football pitch. Maybe they didn’t rely enough on the Federation for certain technical choices…”

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No other land at hand

The other closest field hockey ground is in Yvetot. Not next door. And then out of the question to return to Clatot, “where it ended with a rupture of the Achilles tendon because the ground is no longer in good condition, breathes Clément Parmain. I announced that if I was sent back there, I would quit. »

In the meantime, the club does not see how it could avoid a new season without matches, but also without training. “We will not leave, what”, resigns Clément Parmain. And this time it’s not the fault of a global pandemic.

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