7 Jun, 15:39
ERC can confirm that the Federation Française de Rugby (FFR) has withdrawn its application to host the 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals, due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the availability of the Stade de France.
The club in its current form was formed in 1933.
It was a fusion of two local clubs, the A.S.P. (Association Sportive de Perpignan and Arlequins Perpignanais).
A.S.P were formed in 1902, they were French champions in 1914.
They were renamed 'U.S.P.' - Union Sportive of Perpignan - in 1919, won the French championship in 1921 and 1925.
USAP have never been relegated from the French first division.
Local legend states that the club colours of blood and gold come from a famous battle dating from around 1300 AD. - This battle also gave Occitania it's flag. The Duc de Foix put his fingers in the blood of his dying son and crossed his fingers full of blood on his golden armour saying his soldiers: "In the memory of my son and of all my people, follow me!" - and ths story has allways been used by the management to motivate the players before their modern day battles.
French Cup Winners in 1935, '55, '94
French Champions 1914, '21, '25, '38, '44, '55
One of their most famous supporters is Jo Maso, manager of the French team.
Another famous fan is the French pop star "Dany", a 70's legend in France, and writer of a recent French number 1, a deut with Etienne Daho called 'Mon CÅ"ur Boomerang'
USAP have a famous group of supporters called 'The ULTRAS'. Ultras are "crazy fans", who can't bear their team to lose. They breathe USAP, walk USAP, eat USAP, wear USAP, sleep USAP...
The average crowd at Perpignan's home stadium, 'Stade Aime Giral' is around 7.500 to 8000. The capacity is 8,000.
According to the Club's ticket office, Perpignan has 2.700 "socios" (season ticket holders).
The ground has one restaurant, the club-house, and a lot of "bodegas", snack bars that sell products such as hot-dogs, and the local speciality: the "escargolade".
Locals refer to their ground, Aimé Giral and the fans as the 16th man in the team.
THE LOCAL AREA
You can always find a place to eat or drink whenever in the year, the day, night and day. 'Penà£', 'bodega' (typical southern bars, where you'll drink Ricard, Pernod, red wine or Heineken, of course, eating spanish 'tapas' and 'proscuito', famous Serano) are numbers.
1977 French grand Slam lock Jean-Franà§ois, one of the most famous players in the club's history, is the owner of the biggest bar of Perpignan. (CALLED "Chez Jean-Franà§ois Imbernon".
French rugby is notoriously tribal. Just ten years ago, it would have been impossible, even for a French player coming from Béziers (95 km) or Narbonne (65 km): Traditionally players did not switch clubs in that region.
Since the dawn of professionalism, USAP is now a truly cosmopolitan side- drawing their playing staff from a host of different countries, these include: Phil Murphy, No.8, Canada, Alessandro Moreno, prop, Italy, Alvarez-Kairelis Rimas, lock, Lituania/Argentina (Puma), John Daniell, lock, New Zealand, Manuel Edmonds, fly-half, Australia, Ed Carter, center, Australia
Benoit Bellot has scored 67 points in Heineken Cup rugby in seven games, and is the leading poitnas scorer. However, Manuel Edmonds scored 61 in the Pool stages of the 2002/3 competition to lie in second place.
Thierry Lacroix scored 30 points against Leicester Tigers in the 2001/02 season - the most points scored by an individual for Perpignan in Heineken Cup rugby.
The coach: Olivier Saà¯sset, is a very respected coach in Perpignan, one of the only former Béziers players to get respect from 'ultras' of fans associations.
Saà¯sset was a famous flanker (Grand Slam 1968, winner of 23 caps) Saà¯sset won 5 titles with Béziers.
Jo Maso, the afore mentioned bar owner, was an influential center in the 60's
Jean-Franà§ois Imbernon, famous lock in the 70's and 80's, Grand Slam 1977 (played all the games like his 14 team-mates, no replacement!)
Marc and Thomas Lià¨vremont, flanker and No.8 in the 90's, both played in the final of the 1999 World Cup.
Thierry Lacroix, top scorer of the 1995 World Cup played for the club between 2000 and 2002.
www.lnr.fr (French professional league)
www.lesiterugby.com (news from French clubs)