Interview with the president of MHSC VB a few days before the resumption of training which will take place in early August for the champions of France. Jean-Charles Caylar evokes the first season under the acronym of the MHSC, the ambitions of the club, the workforce for the coming season but also the future broadcast of the championship now broadcast by beIN Sports.
What is the outcome of this first season under the aegis of the MHSC?
It is first of all a sporting success, the tip of the iceberg. We couldn’t have started the union with the Nicollin Group better by winning the title of champion of France.
It is also a success in the daily life of the club. The adaptation of what was the Montpellier Castelnau volleyball and its professional team to the Nicollin Group and the MHSC brand is done well, quietly, without revolutionizing anything. Things are progressing on all fronts. The project is still in its infancy.
We want to make MHSC VB a reference in French volleyball
How do you envision the sequel?
We want to make MHSC VB a reference in French volleyball. We will be involved in the construction of a real professional volleyball in France. We benefit from the help, the experience, the experience and the know-how of the MHSC which help us to build our club.
We want to settle in the medium term in the clubs that matter in Europe. There is a milestone to cross, it will not happen like that. We have already had experience in the Challenge Cup and in the CEV. There, we enter the Champions League, which is an appointment in unknown territory. We will not go to make up the numbers by drawing inspiration from what is done in the best European clubs, in Italy, in Poland.
French volleyball is Olympic champion, there is no reason why French clubs, including ours, are not among the best
The idea is to be one of the greats in Europe. It’s ambitious, but French volleyball is Olympic champion, there’s no reason why French clubs, including ours, aren’t among the best. It’s a question of means, we have to manage to give ourselves the means but we know where we want to go.
Will the MHSC VB budget change?
The budget will evolve but not much on the sporting part. This may disappoint some fans who expect that we can attract big names in volleyball. First, we devote the evolution of the budget to the structuring of the club to make it a real professional club.
Around the athlete, there is a whole environment: the medical, the administrative, the communication, the marketing… All that is being put in place slowly. Where we were small craftsmen, we will try to become true entrepreneurs. The budget will be increased by 10% this year (from 1.8 million to 2 million euros), and this increase will mainly concern the professional team but not the athlete.
When we are structured, the budget being brought to evolve each year, the second phase will be devoted to the athlete with a desire to strengthen at the level of the players for the very high level. That’s why the coming season will be interesting.
It seems to me that we have a quality squad but I don’t know if it’s enough to play at the very high level of the European Cup. The future will tell me. I will know, in a few months, if it takes an even more oversized workforce to be a great in Europe.
How did you work on recruitment to build the professional group for the coming season?
I apply a principle since I became president (in 2011, editor’s note): the coach is responsible for his team. I give the financial framework and he chooses the players. Olivier Lecat is qualified to choose the players, unlike me. Of course, we talk about it, he tells me about his choices.
Your workforce has taken on South American accents…
French volleyball “takes advantage” of the economic crises in Argentina but also in Brazil to welcome players from these countries. It is also due to the quality of the French championship because it is attractive for high level players. I am convinced that we are not very far from the mid-table clubs of the Italian and Polish championships.
For foreign players, coming to France and possibly breaking through gives them hope to bounce back elsewhere. My goal is for them to stay in Montpellier.
I’m not worried, we get along very well (with Nicolas Le Goff) and we will find an agreement to extend it
Nicolas Le Goff has also activated his season as an option in his contract. You discuss so that the adventure lasts even longer…
There is a common will. The club builds an identity thanks to its players. Nicolas Le Goff personifies the club, he comes out of the training center, he has never known any other club in France. He wants to stay because he was able to see the work done. Obviously, we want to keep Nico. I’m not worried, we get along very well and we will find an agreement to extend it.
When does your coach Olivier Lecat’s contract end?
He has one year left on his contract. Afterwards, we will start discussions with Olivier to see how we plan for the future. We will watch quietly, we have time. He also has his career to pursue. We owe a lot to Olivier. It happened six years ago. He has contributed enormously to making the club what it has become. He is one of the best French coaches.
The French championship will be broadcast on beIN Sports. What was your role in this decision?
As a member of the office of the National Volleyball League, I had a role. We were looking for a media since the chain L’Equipe abandoned volleyball three years ago. We have developed the LNV TV platform which we are going to improve. We needed a recognized broadcaster.
After the Olympics, it was time, a lot of work has been done and has recently come to fruition. As club president, I am very happy that on Friday evening there is a broadcast of the league match. Hoping we get picked once in a while.
What are the advantages for the LNV and the clubs?
It’s a nice exhibition on Friday night. Volleyball lovers will see a poster. This will enable us to win over other audiences who will be curious to see Olympic champions. We have every interest that the championship is broadcast.
China will not join the championship
While everything was tied up, China will not be part of the French championship next season. The National Volleyball League was refused by the Ministry of Sports last week. A disappointment for the LNV of which Jean-Charles Caylar is a part. The latter, questioned on the subject before the decision of the Ministry, was in favor of the arrival of the Chinese selection in League A to prepare for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games: “French volleyball suffers from under-media coverage, he explained to us on July 13th. There, it is a means of being interested in the championship of France. The selection of China is part of the Top 20 in the world. This will allow us to have a quality opposition with the guarantee that they are the best Chinese players. For our players, it’s a way to make themselves known in the world and particularly in China. I only see positive aspects.” In the meantime, therefore, the project was abandoned.