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Cécile Locatelli : "Olympique Lyonnais moved the lines"

Published on 30 March 2020 at 1:51 PM
Cécile Locatelli : « L’Olympique Lyonnais a fait bouger les lignes »
50 years ago, the French Football Federation first recognized women's football. In 50 years since, the discipline has seen its number of licensees multiply by 100 to more than 200,000 at present. Cécile Locatelli (director of the Lyon's academy and coach of the French Women's Under-17 Team), explains in this interview what this anniversary represents.

This recognition of women's football in 1970 by the FFF made it possible to give structure to everything that had been done before. There were things that happened before 1970 that were unofficial. This recognition made it possible to: lead to the creation of a French championship with teams officially recognized by the FFF.


A big step forward:

Yes, because it made it possible to integrate like the mens' structures, to have access to he clubs, to also have a structure that allowed girls to have regular training, regular trainers, leaders, who allowed girls to play every weekend in a much more precise setting than before.


Can we say that from 2004, OL has helped to boost this women's football?

Even before 2004, myself having experience it, before Olympique Lyonnais, there was FC Lyon which was for me the forerunner of Olympique Lyonnais. It was also a fairly pioneering club which won four titles as champions of France, before merging with Olympique Lyonnais so at the Lyon level there was already a good base. After joining up with OL in 2004, it strengthened its structures. And Jean Michel Aulas had the intelligence to take over a well-functioning club and bring it forward with a master's hand to where it is now. I think that Olympique Lyonnais changed the paradigm but we must not forget Louis Nicollin with Montpellier who was one of the first if not the first to want to bring players to the professional level. Another point to note, Jean-Michel Aulas treated them the same way: girls 'and boys' soccer. He then pushed other clubs like PSG, Bordeaux to take his example.


Sum up these fifty years in a phrase :

One phrase is difficult, but I am happy to be able to tell my children and now my children tell me that there is no difference between access to boys 'and girls' football. Before when a girl asked her mom or dad if she could play soccer it was difficult. Now it is getting easier and easier. A little girl can play football anywhere and however she wants, and above all without having any particular comments from anyone. Well done.