French juniors playing 'French cricket'
In a major social and cultural move, the primary association for sports in French primary Schools, USEP, has given their official blessing to the introduction of cricket into French schools.
This is a enormous breakthrough for French cricket, the true values of cricket, the opportunity for boys and girls to play together have combined to help the French overcome any underlying mistrust of “les anglais” and this is the first step to introducing cricket to become part of French culture.
The official signature of an agreement covering the three years to 2014 took place on the February 1, between Jean Michel SAUTREAU, President of USEP, and Tony BANTON, the President of France Cricket during a meeting of the USEP National Board.
This agreement has been built around the introduction of cricket, via ”Ludocricket”, into French Primary Schools, aimed at children between 6 & 11 years old. The key point about this agreement is that France Cricket will be training French Sports and School teachers, who will be encouraged to introduce cricket into their school curriculum. Schools will also have the opportunity to take part in regional cricket events, organised by USEP. Two “meetings” are already pencilled in where schools will come together and take part in a regional tournament.
The psychological effect on the children is extremely important as the program will combine fun, with sport and also provide a link to English language lessons – a definite plus in the eyes of USEP.
Children accepting cricket is an important first step to introducing the game into French culture. Students will be able to take lessons learnt from school cricket and introduce cricket’s true values into their home life.
This means we shall also be training the teachers in many English cricket terms and expressions, which lead to another major advantage in that the schools, will be able to organise trips to neighbouring English speaking countries, to practice their language skills while also getting further access to cricket. There is already a school from Brittany is going to Jersey for a 2 day trip in April to visit the Island and play some Ludocricket against their local counterparts.
France Cricket will make maximum use of this event to promote the programme, and will send a reporter to cover the 2 days who will film the cricket, interview the children and the Jersey & French cricket board representatives. We will then make a short film with this material which we can make available on both the USEP and France Cricket web sites. As a promotional, visual aid, this is an essential step and will provide the cornerstone to much of our communication.
Where are we today? Thanks to the ICC RFS grant, we are able to allocate resources – including in particular regional development support – to implementing the Ludocricket project in five of France’s Regions. Through our partnership with Surridge Sports, we have already received 80 Ludocricket kits for distribution in the five Regions that have been selected for the first phase – with a commitment of a total of 200 kits donated by Surridge Sports. With a plan to cover up to 4 schools with each kit, and between 50 and 100 children involved in each school, it is clear that the level of cricket participation should explode over the three years of the initial agreement.
This date is historic, the 1st of February 2012 when Cricket finally arrived in France!