Benjamin Morel’s last weekend at the head of the Six Nations Tournament promises sparks. If the XV of France retains a slim chance of winning a second coronation in a row, a year after that of 2022, Ireland has all the cards in hand to win, Saturday March 18, at the end of its match against England, the fourth grand slam in its history; what’s more, the first in Dublin – which promises to prolong the drunken festivities of Saint Patrick’s Day. A result that would satisfy the title partner of the competition, a famous stout brewer from the green Erin. In short, enough to offer Benjamin Morel a beautiful outing no matter what: “Expect the unexpected”professed the Frenchman before the Tournament.
At 49, Benjamin Morel – his long years in Anglo-Saxon sport make him respond indiscriminately to Ben as to Benjamin – is not the best known of sports leaders. Managing Director of the Six Nations since 2018, he will leave his post at the end of the Tournament to join the French Professional Football League (LFP). In five years in office, he has endeavored to dust off a century-old competition and has had his share of “unexpected situations”as he explained to World before the opening of this 2023 edition.
Of the “unexpected situations” sometimes away from the field. Like this year 2020 when, like all the organizers of sports competitions, he had to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic, which came to suddenly interrupt everything – the Blues, for example, had just lost in Scotland, and they were preparing to receive Ireland.
“I never could have imagined that we would conclude the 2020 Tournament in October, or that we would play the 2021 edition without an audience.blows the one who studied at the Paris Business School (ESCP). There were a lot of unexpected things, like this pandemic, but we were able to bring about real change, by centralizing a lot of interests, which was not easy with such rival nations on the ground. »
Landed in the world of the oval ball from the orange ball, Benjamin Morel has long held the position of general manager for Europe, Africa and the Middle East of the National Basketball Association (NBA). And going from the paroxysm of “American-style” sport – a closed league that put the emphasis on the spectacle well before the others – to a secular competition, rooted in its traditions, was not easy. “These are two diametrically opposed worlds. In rugby, we manage fifteen matches a year, broadcast on public channels, and the Tournament has a cultural and social value, beyond the simple game “recognizes the person concerned.
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