Indian engineers and Afghan refugees find themselves in the Toulouse Cricket Club, where the president wants to grow, thanks to a common passion for one of the world’s most popular sports.
I was able to walk the hills of Peck David for a long time without doubting that the only cricket club in the big city of Toulouse lived there. But hiding behind the trees, they meet every week on the ground of Soldero to practice the world’s second most popular sport (after football) and unleash their passion in the Commonwealth countries, but still a secret in France. is.
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Philippe Fermanel, 59, including six presidents of the Toulouse Cricket Club, said he “fallen in love” with the batting sport while traveling to the UK in his late teens. He passionately talks about the stubbornness needed to master the secrets of pitching and batting, both the personal and collective aspects of the sport. The closest cousin of this sport is baseball (the batter must make a chain run against the opposing team). cricket. This international opening is the course he set up when he was born in the 1980s, experienced a recession over the next decade, and then took over the reins of the club, which was reborn in the 1980s. the year of 2000.
Ethnic and economic mix
Created by an Englishman working at Airbus, the TCC had to reform itself after Brexit. Today, he works primarily in aviation and biomedical work with economic refugees in Bangladesh, Tamils from Sri Lanka who fled the civil war, French, British, Scottish, Irish, and more recently Afghan refugees. Indian people.
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The president of the TCC assured that he could cite “a concrete example of an integrated youth because coming to the club helped them by finding rewards through sports”, and many French cricket clubs are very community. I regret that. When graduates come to TCC, they are not in their community. They face each other, which facilitates integration, “he says. So I set the rules: In the match we can only speak French or English. »»
Attract young people
Among the only clubs that can play two teams each weekend – cricket takes place at 11 o’clock – TCC still faces major challenges. It is a new dimension by receiving subsidies from the ICC (International Cricket Council), which attracts young people under the age of 20 and conditions clubs in particular based on this standard. Therefore, Philip Fermanel has a hard time. He wants more time and support from the FFBS (French Baseball and Softball Federation).
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Funded by member donations, the TCC is able to stay alive and connect with its vision, thanks to the members’ common passion, while the Toulouse City Hall provides and maintains the site. A little hidden, probably happy.