The president of the French Judo Federation Stéphane Nomis, in conclusion of his introductory remarks to the Assembly, wanted to “ask for forgiveness, in the name of the Federation, from all the people who in the past have been victims of violence in our clubs and in our structures. The harm that was done to them, while we should have protected them, will remain a shadow that no medal will erase,” added the manager, interviewed alongside his general director Sébastien Nolesini.
Many voices have been raised in recent years to denounce the violent training methods, sometimes amounting to abuse, which took place on the tatami mats. Since the end of 2020, the Federation has recorded 180 reports of violence, of which 95 concern cases of gender-based and sexual violence, 30 physical violence and 42 verbal violence. Thirty disciplinary procedures have been initiated, indicated Stéphane Nomis. The leader nevertheless regretted the “limits” faced by the disciplinary commissions of the federations, which only have ten weeks to investigate cases before taking possible sanctions.
Compared to judicial or administrative procedures, “we find ourselves arbitrating first, with the weakest investigative power and the disciplinary power with the smallest perimeter,” he said. “The strongest sanction we have is the removal of a licensee. In the case of an educator for example, we can prevent him from intervening in federal events but we cannot prohibit him from working within a club under penalty of obstruction of labor law. Judo, the third French federation in terms of members, has 530,000 members.