The club has been targeted by the handball union, but denies the charges.
“It's unpleasant to find out about this kind of thing, it's very unpleasant.” Nodjialem Myaro, president of the Women's Handball League (LFH), does not taste the scandal. The Association of Professional Handball Players (AJPH) denounced, Thursday, February 13, in a press release, pregnancy tests performed “without the consent of the players” on the occasion of biological assessments at the start of the season, within a club of the Women's League, without naming the club. Very quickly, Nantes Handball Atlantique, current 3rd in D1, was identified. By the voice of its president Arnaud Ponroy, the club denied the charges. Here is what we know about this case.
How was the case started?
Thursday, February 13, AJPH publishes a statement in which she accuses a D1 club of having imposed pregnancy tests on her players. This test would have taken place as part of medical examinations carried out at the start of the season. “The analysis of the level of the hormone beta-HCG, aiming to detect a state of pregnancy, would have been prescribed by the doctor of the club without the consent of the players”, writes the association, denouncing “unacceptable practices”.
AJPH recently learned of unacceptable practices that have taken place in a club. @LBE_Officiel
❌ Prescribing a blood pregnancy test without the agreement or consent of the players is ILLEGAL ⛔
– AJPH (@AJPHandball) February 13, 2020
“After recovering the prescriptions attesting to these analyzes, the AJPH sent a letter to the club and the doctor and informed the authorities as well as the social partners”, adds the instance which “reserves the right to give any useful follow-up to this situation”. AJPH recalls that this type of control is “completely illegal and (…) is also a serious breach of privacy “ players.
What does the club involved say?
The identity of the accused club quickly filters. This is the Nantes Atlantique Handball, report francetv sport, where several French internationals are playing, rear Camille Ayglon-Saurina, goalkeeper Catherine Gabriel and wing Blandine Dancette.
Club president Arnaud Ponroy reacts on Friday and says that these tests “have nothing illegal”. He confirmed the existence of these examinations, but ensures that the handball players were informed and consenting: “The doctor did, in my opinion, his job in his soul and conscience with the consent of the players “. However, he qualifies, wondering: “Are the players sufficiently informed? Have foreigners not understood correctly? Are the French women sensitive enough to what they are told?”
However, if the players were aware of this test, orality in this case is not enough, “there is written consent that should have been done”, precise Nodjialem Myaro, President of the League at francetv sport. The president of the club, particularly upset against the AJPH, denounces a step “stupid and dishonest” and “a completely stupid trial of intent”, in The Team.
“Our doctor (Doctor Thibaut Berlivet) is the high-level maternity and sport referent for the Pays de la Loire, it is a subject that is very close to his heart. He considers that he must know whether the high-level sportswoman he is facing is pregnant or not. One, to possibly adjust the workload and two, to adapt any medications. The doctor does his job and tries to do it right “, he insists.
The president also denies being the initiator of this request for tests: “It is not a tool used by the club. (…) The players are under contract, whether they are pregnant or not, it does not change anything”, he guarantees.
And the players, what do they say?
At a press conference on Friday, players from the Nantes club defended their president. Camille Ayglon-Saurina expressed herself by reading a written press release “in Group”. It confirmed the words of its president: “We had a prescription telling us, there was a desire on the part of the doctor to be clear and nothing was done insidiously”, she explained.“There may have been a problem with understanding, she however qualified, quoted by West France(for subscribers), It was the first time in our career that we had to take this test. It was in addition to the compulsory tests. “
“None discovered with the AJPH press release that she had undergone this test, everyone knew that there were pregnancy tests “added Captain Léa Lignières. “We did not all have the reflex to look at what was on our prescriptions”, she conceded, especially since not all of them recognized the pregnancy test in its medical name.
The young captain also defended the club's medical team. “He's a great doctor and we want to keep him by our side”, she summarized. An opinion shared by a teammate who testifies anonymously to France 3 Pays de Loire and who believes that it cannot be “considered the culprit”. She still admits that “this has angered some girls. But you couldn't imagine the scale it would take. “
Are they unanimous?
For its part, Nodjialem Myaro, the president of the League, says that she has “two different versions on the player side”. “The only thing I can tell you clearly today, what will be important for me is the respect of the player”. “Women felt humiliated and we would not like them to be taken to task, made to feel guilty”, reacted the AJPH Friday evening, quoted by The Team.
Among the former players of the club, languages are loosening. “Never ! I'm sure we never heard about it, anonymously certified to 20 minutes one of them, we were asked to take blood samples to find out if everything was fine, if we had deficiencies, and to my knowledge these were the only things they were looking for through these analyzes. “
Wendy Lawson, from Nantes from 2012 to 2018, was not surprised when she learned of this case: “If I had been told that it came from another club, I might have been a little more shocked. If someone told me that it came from Nantes and its president, I tell myself that go with the character. “ During her last season, she remembers that she did not have her endowment, neither the bag, nor the complete equipment of the club. “Strangely enough, I was pregnant just before”, she loose in West France.
What will the authorities do?
In a press release, the French Federation and the Women's Handball League claim to have “immediately contacted the Nantes Atlantique Handball club to collect his observations and that of his doctor”, reports The Team. They added that they “will be attentive to the procedures which could be initiated before the various jurisdictions or orders, and hope that all the light is made on this situation.”
In response to this case, the League is preparing “a reminder of the procedures for the attention of all clubs, including the legal obligation to obtain an express, formal and prior agreement from the athletes to prescribe a beta-HCG hormone dosage”. The authorities also specify that they are “particularly committed to respecting privacy and obtaining the informed consent of athletes for any medical examination.” And Nodjialem Myaro to conclude: “If there are behaviors that have been shown to be disrespectful of the labor code and respect for women, this will be punished and denounced.”