before the 2023 World Cup, a judgment that could reshuffle the cards

published on Sunday, December 11, 2022 at 06:08

Less than ten months from “its” World Cup, French rugby plays big on Tuesday with the judgment in the lawsuit brought against the all-powerful president of its Federation, Bernard Laporte.

The national financial prosecutor’s office has requested three years in prison, including a firm, against the former scrum-half and the businessman Mohed Altrad, owner of the Montpellier club, suspected of having tied a ” corruption pact” in 2017.

He also called for a ban, for two years, on the former coach of the XV of France from practicing any rugby, and on Mr. Altrad, CEO of the eponymous construction giant, jersey sponsor of the XV of France but also of the All Blacks, to manage a commercial company.

A “heavy” indictment, as Bernard Laporte recently described it, which made react Max Guazzini, emblematic president of the French stadium between 1992 and 2011 and former employer of the president of the FFR who trained his club between 1995 and 1999, with a Shield of Brennus, in 1998, at the key.

– “Relentlessness” –

“For the criminal lawyer that I was, explained Max Guazzini in the columns of Midi-Olympique on Monday, the provisional execution of a possible conviction, requested by the prosecution during the trial, seems incredible and unusual to me”.

“In view of what he is accused of, I feel like relentlessness on Bernard Laporte,” said the former boss of NRJ.

These requisitions also challenge French rugby, moreover pumped up by the performances of the Blues who have just chained a record series of thirteen victories and are among the contenders for the 2023 world title.

The prosecution accompanied by the ban on exercising functions in rugby for two years of the provisional execution of this sentence, it would therefore be effective immediately and would not be suspended by the possible decision to appeal of the leader .

Whatever the judgment pronounced on Tuesday, the FFR, rendered by Bernard Laporte since 2016, will have to position itself very quickly on its governance.

The same goes for the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, very advanced since the Claude Atcher affair, who saw the former boss of the organizing committee of the 2023 World Cup be dismissed from his post in October due to “alarming managerial practices”.

– “Vacancy” –

According to the statutes of the FFR, consulted by AFP, “in the event of a vacancy in the post of president, for any reason whatsoever, the functions of president are temporarily retained by a member of the office elected by secret ballot by the steering committee. “.

“From its first meeting following the vacancy, and after having, if necessary, completed the steering committee, the General Assembly (the next one is scheduled for June 2023, editor’s note) elects a new president for the duration of the remaining term of office” , i.e. until the fall of 2024.

Contacted by AFP, Florian Grill, the president of the Ile-de-France League and main opponent of Bernard Laporte, did not wish to speak before Tuesday.

But in a recent press release, the elected members of his “Ovale ensemble” list “stood up” against “the advance of the lawyers’ fees of Mr. Laporte and Serge Simon” – the N.2 of the Federation, also on the bench of the defendants – “for 200,000 euros in 2022”, pointing at the same time “the increase in the price of licenses by +45%”.

Finally, in Dublin, where World Rugby is headquartered, the governing body of world rugby of which Bernard Laporte has been vice-president since May 2020, we have also checked the date of December 13 on the agenda, recalling that the August 1, an “independent person responsible for ethical issues”, responsible for implementing its “integrity code” voted in May 2021.

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