More than a month and a half after the events that followed Kim Clavel’s defeat at the Place Bell on October 7, anger is still so palpable among several Régie des alcools, des courses et des jeux (RACJ) officials that a boycott movement has been launched next the Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM) gala against the backdrop of a leadership crisis in the RACJ.
News of the possible boycott, first reported by Réjean Tremblay in an article posted online on the website BPM Sports Tuesday morning, it also reached the ears RDS.cawho was able to learn more after consulting with several sources who requested anonymity so he could speak freely about it without fear of retribution.
The RACJ arbitrators, judges and inspectors still haven’t digested that their colleague Benoit Roussel was prominently featured and allegedly intimidated in front of two GYM representatives for his decision at the end of an extremely close battle between Clavel and Unified. champion in the light flyweight category Evelin Nazarena Bermudez.
These influential and supportive officials would therefore consider making themselves unavailable for the gala evening that GYM wants to organize on February 1, just before the start of the RACJ court appearance. GYM was actually summoned there on February 5, 7, 8 and 9, 2024 for “pressuring, threatening or violently acting on a representative of the Régie / Good reputation / Competent and fair action / Public interest”, according to the notice of the meeting obtained from side RDS.ca.
Please note that Judges, Judges and Inspectors are freelancers and are not required to work at every RACJ sanctioned event. The latter generally inquires about the availability of its officials four or six weeks in advance and, faced with expected staff shortages, invites promoters to postpone their gala. The RACJ could call in officials from Ontario and the Maritimes, but this scenario seems unlikely at this time.
Few details have been leaked about this gala, which is scheduled for February 1st, except that it should mark Clavel’s return to the ring, again according to the humble columnist, and that host Marie-Claude Savard is set to face host and comedian Cathy Gauthier in the scheduled clash for three rounds. Two women mentioned it on airenergy about two weeks ago.
The lack of strong leadership has been criticized
Because apart from the obvious resentment towards GYM, what stands out above all is the crisis of leadership currently affecting the RACJ’s martial arts department. All the sources he talked to RDS.ca condemned the RACJ’s inadequate response following comments and actions allegedly made by Yvon Michel and Alexandra Croft – whose names appear in the RACJ hearing notice sent to GYM.
So far, the RACJ has limited itself to mentioning – through its spokeswoman Joyce Tremblay “that the elected judges, in this case Mr. Roussel, have the necessary qualifications and skills,” while praising the “international reputation” of the Quebec judge. Let’s note that the director of martial arts, racing and games Marco Bergeron has never spoken publicly on this topic and his supposed passivity is starting to irritate many.
Behind the scenes, many officials bitterly regret the not-so-long-ago era when Michel Hamelin ruled the martial arts division. A former inspector, Hamelin was not unanimously accepted as a boss, but today his iron fist and great ability to resolve conflicts in an industry where outsized egos abound.
Several officials also say that Hamelin would never have accepted that someone had tried to intimidate one or another of his employees — as Michel and Croft are accused in the notice of the meeting — and that ultimately a lack of strong leadership would have been the cause. Some secretly fantasize about the return of Hamelin to the head of the martial arts department, but this possibility would be completely excluded, both by the main interested party and by the RACJ, according to the information that has been published. RDS.ca.
For now, it is impossible to predict the scale that the protest movement will take, and above all whether it will last.