“I’m not going to give up. Despite the accumulation of facts, I should have had the height necessary not to lose my temper”. Faced with the Criminal Court of Rennes, Robert Françoise admitted the violence against the director of the Stade Rennais training center perpetrated on April 23, after a defeat of the Rennes reserve against Stade Brestois. But he denied having dealt the slightest blow to Denis Arnaud, only having “taken him by the collar”. He also did not apologize, which annoyed the lawyers for the civil parties. Judged for violence this Friday morning, the defendant saw the prosecutor request a simple fine of 800 euros and the obligation to carry out a citizenship course within six months. Under advisement, the decision will be rendered on June 28.
Without justifying himself, the father of young Noah Françoise tried to explain what he describes as a “loss of temper”. Calmly, hands crossed behind his back, the man explained the tense relationship he had with the director of the training center. “There is a bottom, an accumulation. When the pro contract was signed, things were already going very badly, ”explained the 49-year-old defendant. The father of the reserve captain accuses the director of the training center of having “hidden the name of Noah” when coach Bruno Genesio took the reins of the flagship team in March 2021. Or an alleged call to the coach of the France U19 Landry Chauvin team asking him not to select his son. “A delirious resonance”, according to Stade Rennais lawyer Thierry Fillion. “It is impossible and unthinkable,” added the lawyer.
An amateur video projected during the hearing
On April 23, the club was the scene of a violent altercation between the director of the training center and the father of the captain of the reserve. As he was heading towards his vehicle, Denis Arnaud had seen Noah Françoise’s father and wanted to greet him, which the latter refused. The victim was then pushed, grabbed by the collar and then thrown against the fence. While they had been separated, the two men had returned to contact, under the impulse of the father. Were there any blows struck by the defendant? Assure him not. The amateur video broadcast during the hearing does not allow us to get an idea either. “In their report, the investigators explain that you arm a punch and that you strike it on the upper body of the victim”. “I didn’t strike a blow,” assures the father. The doctor who examined Denis Arnaud detected a broken rib, causing 15 days off work.
Absent from the hearing, the director of the training center was “very shocked” by this attack, reports his lawyer, who specifies that his client is still in psychological follow-up. An aggression condemned by the player. “The real victim of all this is Noah,” dared his father, before being quickly taken over by the judge. ” No sir. The victim of all this is Denis Arnaud and Stade Rennais, ”replies the magistrate. Captain of the reserve, his son continued to wear the armband until the end of the season, concluded with a rise to National 2. “The bottom line is not Noah, it’s ambition of sir. He comes to present himself as the victim, without expressing an excuse, ”tackles Didier Lacombe.
“These attacks are increasing”
The lawyer from the bar of Saint-Etienne came to plead the cause of the National Union of Coaches and Technical Managers of French Football (UNECATEF), which brought a civil action. “To attack an educator is to attack the entire profession. And these aggressions multiply because parents are dissatisfied with the situation of their child. It is in the same vein as the attacks on teachers when they leave school, ”says Didier Lacombe.
After citing former international Dominique Rocheteau, the prosecutor questions the defendant. “Your son, wasn’t he ashamed?” “. Clumsy response from father. “For you, what are the main values of football? “. The defendant replies without hesitation: “Tolerance, acceptance and openness”. On that April day, they were largely trampled on. Even before knowing the court’s decision on June 28, the defendant has already received a first conviction. Educator specializing in the support of high-level athletes, Robert Françoise saw the agency with which he worked put an end to his contract.