The deep wave of sadness and friendship will better soften, over time, the shock of the sudden disappearance of our friend Xavier Rivoire, Sunday, at the age of 53, which leaves us speechless, and without many words. He was director of communication and press relations at Decathlon, which he had only left for a parenthesis in the direction of communication and events at the CNOSF, in 2018, but he had also been a journalist of The team and of France-Football with delicious companionship.
Graduated from the 67th promotion of ESJ Lille, he had made his debut at the BBC, and had found a country made for him: with his accent, his elegance (a tweed jacket, a pocket square, a silk scarf ), he had settled for good in London, from 1996, became the correspondent of The team in England. It was a ten-year adventure that had made him experience from the inside the emergence of the “Frenchies” of the Premier League, which would be the subject of three of his books: a beautiful biography of Arsène Wenger (The Coach), an interview book with Robert Pires (Profession footballer) and a collective work on The Blues of his Majesty.
He already had the enveloping friendship, and many of us have fond memories of the parties organized, during Euro 96, in the house he co-rented in the Chelsea district. After having experienced the best of the great adventure of the French Arsenal as closely as possible, he returned to France in 2006 to join the editorial staff of France-Football, seizing on all subjects with the same empathy, and often coming to Lyon, because it was the best team in France and because it was the city of his youth, the city of his family. He had left the press at the end of 2011, but his subsequent jobs had left him at an equal distance from his two passions, sport and others.
We couldn’t meet Xavier and not remember him, and he left us no chance to forget him: whatever fragility she could hide, sometimes her friendship was solar, constant and generous. His way of hugging his friends, that is to say just about everyone, like good bread, and calling them “P’tit loup”, will be sorely missed. To her daughter, her family and her friends, The team offers its most saddened and moved condolences.