The Rugby World Cup kicks off on Friday evening in Paris with France-New Zealand (9pm at Stade de France). Toulouse Stadium will host five matchesIncluding Japan-Chile this Sunday. France 2023 website director, Cédric Cole, was a guest on the France Bleu Occitanie program this Friday morning.
France Bleu Occitanie: What was your daily life like? These last two or three years in terms of organization?
Cedric Cole: It’s like a rocket taking off. The organization is very broad on very broad topics! It goes from security to bed size at base camp, to the flow of different demographic groups that will be returning to the stadium, and so on. My role above all was to coordinate all these actions by working with Toulouse Métropole, because the stadium belongs to the city. It has been a long-term mission during these three years.
Have the nights been short for three years?
In fact, it’s a sprint that lasts as long as a marathon. You have to comment. But now there is a little adrenaline and, above all, excitement. And when we talk about the Rugby World Cup, there is still a lot of dreams in it.
It is an incredible dream for all rugby fans, rugby lovers and rugby lovers. It’s happening, it’s here, and it starts this evening. This is what I said to the Portuguese national team that I saw yesterday (Thursday) in Perpignan. Players will also make kids want to dream. Make millions of children around the world want to become the actors of tomorrow.
In Toulouse, did you feel particularly excited?
Toulouse is the capital of rugby, that is undeniable. With Toulousan Stadium also being a very strong carrier, with many international players present in the French squad. I think the wait is necessarily longer in Toulouse.
But there are difficulties, because there is a stage that is different from others. There was a turnaround at Euro 2016, as we saw a lot of renovations and building of new stadiums, whether in Bordeaux, Lille, Nice, Marseille, Lyon. Toulouse has not taken that turn and now there are accommodations to be made at the stadium that are more important than anywhere else.
That’s why it’s a bit special because we have one of the smallest stadiums in the competition. But I find it very beautiful, and in addition, we have tremendous enthusiasm and expectations.
Were there complicated things to manage?
This is the configuration of the stadium When Stade Toulousan plays on the field, there is a completely regular and established configuration. There, for this World Cup, there is a whole special squad to prepare in a week. We had to make plans: where the spectators would enter, where they would stop, etc. There is a much larger media area. There’s a lot of accommodation to add, and it’s not that of TFC or Stade Toulousain when they come to the stadium. That was our biggest mission.
Are there any special requests from national teams? Maybe the Japanese don’t ask for the same thing as the Portuguese?
This is more in the base camps, but on the field, for reasons of fairness, we should serve the New Zealanders or the Portuguese in the same way. It is important to us that everyone is welcomed in the best conditions. Then, you can imagine that in a World Cup match, we would also have slightly more important characters in certain matches. Therefore, there is a reception and security protocol for the World Cup.
Are there still places available?
Places on the ticket site are “released” every day because sometimes there are sponsors who have a surplus. There is also World Rugby which has been able to launch some. Or even individuals on a resale site. So, every day, we manage to find some. But we will still be sold out or not get very far throughout the competition.
There is crowd management too. Is it also a big test for Paris 2024?
We have done a lot of work over the past three years with county and state services. But I don’t consider our competition as preparation. It remains a third world event, so we still have the necessary interest in this type of event.