Francine Lageot elected Statutory Advisor to the FCI

Posted on 13/03/2017, Author: SH/PHIL

69 years! That’s the time we had to wait to witness the election of a woman within the board of the Federation Colombophile Internationale (FCI). That’s incrdible: 69 years! This amazing deficiency was put right during the Congress of the FCI held during the Olympiad in Brussels. It is Francine Lageot from Liege that gets the honor to become the first elected woman in the history of the FCI. She was elected by a unanimous vote to Statutory Advisor. This position was held for many years by Arthur Knaepen who is now "retiring".

Who is Francine Lageot? She is well known by the Wallonian pigeon fanciers because she is a national representative at the KBDB and president of the provincial entity Liege-Namur-Luxembourg. But also the Flemish pigeon fanciers know her.This inhabitant of Herstal is able to make herself understood and is a perfect polyglot. She speaks both Dutch and English in addition to French. She was a long time teacher Germanic languages and mainly taught English before being appointed rector at the same Atheneum. 

francine-lageot-spe-luik-namen-luxemburg.jpg | Pitts
arthur-knaepen.jpg | Pitts




With this new role within the FCI the career of Francine Lageot in the pigeon sport is rising. She thus confirms more than ever the place of women in this hyper-masculine environment. Behind her fairly mild blue eyes lies a true conviction and passion. "A few months ago they informed me that it was the intention of Mr. Arthur Knaepen to resign. They then asked  me to propose my candidacy to succeed him within  the FCI. I did not hesitate long. First of all , because I think there are projects underway within the sport that I will be able to guide better whilst being at the FCI headquarters Furthermore, I like to meet people, I like to talk with them and that is easy since I speak English, a language I have taught for years. in addition, I love traveling and I now have the time to do it. Enough good reasons to jump into this adventure.

Françine Lageot is already preparing during several months for her new international mandate. She has not lingered to pave the way for this election, which was moreover confirmed by a unanimous vote. "At the World Championships in Nevele, I have already met a maximum of official delegations. Oh, I did not tell anyone or shouted my candidacy from the rooftops, but it was important to establish the first contacts. Learning to know the others and familiarize  were the first steps. I then participated in a trip to China where I have laid further contacts. "

The result is her role as statutory advisor within the FCI. Francine Lageot has no shortage of ideas and projects, and she was quick to already take action within the FCI. Elected on Saturday, the next day alrady she went to a firt meeting. "Indeed, there was a first meeting on Sunday on the last day of the Olympiad in Brussels. Mr. Bardos in his new role as president made the proposal to combine the Statutory Committee, which I chair, with the European Commission, which logically was accepted. My role is basically to refer to the articles of the association in case of litigation in these federations. "


The statutes of the FCI are the subject of significant developments. That's nothing new. Because this is a work with great administrative accuracy which should be in line with all jurisdictions, the FCI thoughtfully weighs every word, every comma. The end of the tunnel is in sight soon. Jumping on a moving train does not scare the new representative. "I'm not a person who continues to sit and wait for things to come. I'm more proactive. As you say, for the new articles of association it is required to jump on the bandwagon. I asked Geert Philips and Ingrid Elbow respectively administrative secretary and operational secretary of the FCI, to provide me with the key elements of the file, so I can  immediately familiarize with it.”

What are her impressions after this first meeting? "Allow me to say that the FCI with Dr. Jose Tereso had an impartial chairman and a very intelligent person. He understood the urgency to make people familiar with the pigeon sport and to attract new pigeon fanciers  among the youth. He also stressed the importance of modern communication. That's great because those are just the two domains in which all federations absolutely have to make progress, including the FCI. "

Francine Lageot has been active within the federation on two domains. She has focused on the development and the support of the project "Pigeons Pop Up," and she was communications manager at the Olympiad 2017. She prefers not to say it  in so many words, but  it is clear: it was easy to convince President Van Bockstaele of the importance of open communication, but it was a lot more difficult to convince the board, crusted like they are in inaccurate and outdated beliefs when it comes to the modernization of the pigeon sport. She also has no remarks as tot the Olympiad, where she prepared a conservative balance sheet and admits that it was good. "It is up to the KBDB to communicate the correct numbers, the full picture. The interest demonstrated by the important media, the use of social networks, all this is good for the sport. To deny this is to deny the obvious. Now we need to convince everyone. The Olympiad was considered a great success by all the specialized media from abroad and by all the delegations. "


Francin Lageot will no doubt also be very dracstic at the FCI. Like her other leitmotif, youth. "You're right, I think to ask to be part of the Youth Commission. I want to help them to come up with real proposals. I already had the opportunity to exchange views with other federations with the aim to monitor young fanciers. Switzerland and Portugal already reacted positively. I now hope for a domino effect so that all the national federations take action. China is also in favour of this project. In Beijing, there even is a "Home for young pigeon fanciers", reserved especially for them. There is still much to do in that area. That motivates me enormously. The future of our passion is at stake here. Nice words alone will not suffice. "

The FCI  has chosen her, well, they have her. Experience will learn the FCI that what a woman wants, everyone eventually wants. And who would dare to challenge the validity of the motives and projects of  Francine Lageot ?

Good luck, mrs. Lageot !


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