And what if Monaco were to dispense with its first female professional volleyball team for a question of… money? The Monegasque team finished last season in second place at the national ranking. Just a few points behind Béziers, the only team to have defeated them. This result was as exceptional as it was unexpected.
“Last year, we renewed the leadership, but also two-thirds of the team,” said Gilles Brillant, AS Monaco volleyball treasurer. So nobody dared to hope to climb so quickly up the steps of glory, until the Federation proposed moving them into the Elite category! Though the place had been proposed to the Béziers club, at the top of the ranking, they deliberated but ultimately refused.
“Because of this waiting, when we were offered it, we had very little time to respond. As the players had worked hard to get there, we could not refuse,” said the treasurer. It is thus that Monaco has seen for the first time in its history its volleyball players entering the court of greatness!
The price of success
But for the budget there is a slight difference: 240,000 euros instead of the 50,000 that the club is currently paying. In question, are the few recruitments that will have to be carried out and players that will have to be paid. Before tongues begin to wag, it is not the wages that are straining the budget, since they do not exceed 1,600 euros, a pittance in comparison with those of footballers. “As with all sports in the Principality, we were asked to self-finance,” explained Gilles. So everybody has pitched in to contact sponsors who could finance the volleyball players. “We’ve all asked the companies we know,” said Caroline Revel Chion, the team captain. Gilles added: “We even have some current sponsors who are looking for information about potential sponsors at their suppliers.” All these gestures are contributing to the future of the players, but they are not enough.
So, in desperation, they have turned to the Internet. “We put a goal at 50,000 euros, because it is the travel budget and we did not want to put too much money to not discourage users. If we reach even this amount, it will help us a lot” said Gilles. Drops of water in the ocean, but hopefully enough to avoid a step backwards. Because if it is impossible to earn enough to cover the season, the team would return to their regional status.
“At one point there was a question of stopping everything. But it would affect many small teams of young people. We could not do that. From a sporting point of view first and then for the commitment that everyone has put in. For all this, we must hold on,” said Gilles. Caroline believes in the cause: “We fought to improve. We were rewarded for our season. And if we continue to fight, in the end 50,000 euros is not much for Monaco,” insisted the captain. In a land that holds the absolute record of concentration of billionaires, the ladies of the ASM professional female volleyball team are hopeful that their rise in the ranking, and therefore in visibility, can also convince future sponsors.