Since Claude Atcher was fired this summer due to his management, Jacques Rivoal, 64, is the face of the Public Interest Group (GIP) in charge of organizing the World Cup in France (September 8-28 October).
Nine months to the World Cup, are you sleeping well?
The nights are short because the days are long. 2023 is our year and we all hope for the victory of the French team. We have to experience the enthusiasm observed at the World Cup in December. And we remember the emotions we experienced in 1998… Chairing the organizing committee of an event like this is fantastic to experience. Our commitment is to offer a World Cup of the highest level in terms of quality. The notoriety of our event is already well established: all French people want to participate. Two words stand out to describe it: celebration and fraternity, a term rich in meaning.
French rugby is going through an unprecedented crisis of governance, how does this affect you?
Despite this turbulent environment, the organizing committee continued to work with the founding members, mainly the State. [actionnaire à 37 %] and the Federation [62 %]. The board meetings were held, the topics that needed to be validated were… We were not late. All indicators are green before entering the operational phase.
Frankly, I’m sick of all these stories
But a preliminary investigation was opened by the national financial prosecution into the management of the GIP, the premises were searched…
My experience from the corporate world is that there can be crises, but when the brand is strong, it goes through them without being deeply affected. These investigations refer to events dating back to the previous general manager [Claude Atcher]. I see the event is progressing. We have never sold as many tickets as during the last stages of opening in September and October, the number of licensees, sponsors increases  they have joined us.
Suspicions of irregularities in the sale of tickets were revealed last week, in particular for the benefit of Sébastien Chabal. It’s not too bad…
These are facts that we discovered recently, again from the previous general manager, who is the subject of a dismissal for serious misconduct. Investigations are ongoing, I can’t say more.
Will Sébastien Chabal remain ambassador for France 2023?
It was expressed in the media, we took it into account. I am also sensitive to the emotion this affair arouses: common sense dictates that no more should be exposed than this.
Are you worried about discovering new corpses in the closets?
Frankly, I’m sick of all these stories. It’s the past, I’m focused on preparing for the World Cup that rugby lovers are waiting for.
There are still fans who have not been able to purchase a ticket and we will offer them without overbidding the initial price.
The social climate was disturbing. are you calm
For sure. The teams are motivated, with very professional management. We have established a more collegial government with a president [lui-même] which is now operational full-time, and two general managers who bring complementary skills [Julien Collette et Martine Nemecek].
What are the next deadlines?
We will open our resale platform on January 24 at 6 p.m. There are still fans who have not been able to purchase a ticket and we are going to offer them without overbidding the initial price. In Japan [en 2019], 100,000 tickets had been sold. We can be on these bases: on Thursday, when we opened the platform to distributors, more than 10,000 tickets have already been deposited. And there are still opportunities in hospitality. We believe that we will be able to fill all stages of the contest 100%.
Where are you financially?
We are in the midst of reviewing the budget for the February 2nd board meeting. There are parameters to consider, such as inflation that was not expected. But the event will be very profitable. The result will be at the level of the best in the world. And it will be redistributed to French rugby.
Source : Le JDD