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Nelson Paillou et la transformation du handball en France (1942–1982) : Entre discours et réalités

Abstract : Nelson Paillou can be considered a major sports leader of the second half of 20th century France. He was president of the French Handball Federation from 1964 to 1982, vice-president and eventually president of the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) from 1971 to 1993, and a key person in the foundation of the French association for violence-free sport and fair play. Based on printed sources and on personal as well as institutional archives, this article questions the role Paillou played in the development of French sport. First, Paillou worked to introduce and disseminate handball in France, and he developed a policy to enable masses of people to learn to play handball across the country. As such, he targeted the French youth and founded a national executive for handball technique in order to structure the supervision of players of all levels, from initiation up to the elite level. Second, Nelson Paillou also contributed to the recognition and visibility of handball in France and at European and international levels. He developed a significant communication policy and assured a remarkable presence at all handball events in order to reinforce his choices in terms of management and diffusion of the game. Finally, it appears that during the second half of the 20th century, Paillou, who strongly supported the ideals of Pierre de Coubertin, emerged as a promotor of humanist values in sport and in handball. His position against sponsors and some kind of professionalism was overcome with difficulties but it was necessary to open French handball to the international field. Paillou presented himself as an ambiguous French sports leader who sometimes took contradictory decisions. However, Paillou’s resolutions reflected the choices of an opportunistic leader in front of the transformation of sport in a period marked by the arrival of show business and professionalism.
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Submitted on : Sunday, April 17, 2022 - 9:27:57 PM
Last modification on : Monday, April 18, 2022 - 3:39:41 AM

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Lise Cardin, Daphné Bolz, Jean Saint-Martin. Nelson Paillou et la transformation du handball en France (1942–1982) : Entre discours et réalités. Stadion - Zeitschrift für Geschichte des Sports und der Körperkultur, Academia Verlag, 2020, 44 (2), pp.366-389. ⟨10.5771/0172-4029-2020-2-366⟩. ⟨hal-03644017⟩

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