From 1945 to 1947, and then again from 1953 to 1977, Jean Minjoz served as mayor of Besançon and set up a “system” of government that allowed him to maintain power while insuring the development of the city. What was that system and how did it develop? By examining the sports politics of the city, this article reveals how the municipal sports commission and the city council worked out a subtle balance between amateur sports and the promotion of professional soccer. The political, professional, and athletic implications of this approach led representatives of the big clubs as well as the local councillors to support a basic minimum level of sports infrastructure, which in turn enabled the mayor to realize his own agenda for the city's social development program and to assure him the vote of his electorate. This politics of compromise can be categorized as republican elitist.