FFR urged to drop Laporte as president is handed suspended jail term and rugby ban

By Sports Desk December 13, 2022

French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte must leave office after receiving a two-year suspended prison sentence for corruption, sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera said.

The Paris Criminal Court announced the punishment on Tuesday, after investigating a number of marketing decisions made by Laporte that favoured Mohed Altrad, the president of Top 14 club Montpellier, including a shirt sponsorship deal for his construction business with the France national team.

Laporte was also handed a €75,000 fine and a two-year ban from involvement in rugby by the court, raising the possibility of him being out of office before France hosts next year's Rugby World Cup. Altrad was given an 18-month suspended sentence and a €50,000 fine.

The court heard Laporte had taken his actions while also agreeing a personal image rights deal with Altrad that was worth €180,000 to the former France coach, according to Le Parisien and other French media.

Laporte's lawyers announced there will be an appeal against the punishments. Prosecutors had been seeking jail time for both he and Altrad.

The French federation (FFR) said Laporte would stay as president pending the outcome of his appeal. Laporte is also a vice-chairman of World Rugby, which said its executive committee would meet later on Tuesday to consider the outcome.

Laporte and Altrad had denied wrongdoing, and Oudea-Castera said the planned appeal from Laporte should be allowed to run its course.

But her office said in a statement: "In terms of good governance, the minister considers that this new context prevents Bernard Laporte from being able, as it stands, to continue his mission in good conditions at the head of a delegated federation of a public service mission, at a moment as decisive for French rugby as the home stretch before a Rugby World Cup where France will receive nations from all over the world.

"The minister therefore calls for a new democratic era allowing French rugby as quickly as possible to restart on sufficiently healthy and solid bases, with a governance of the federation which will have the full confidence of the clubs and will be able to bring people together.

"It is therefore up to the authorities of the federation that it is now up to them to take up their responsibilities."

Montpellier issued a statement that read: "The Paris Criminal Court delivered a decision at the start of the afternoon which, on the merits, is not fully satisfactory, although the sentences are very different and well below the requisitions requested, which testifies to the insufficiency of the elements of this file."

It said Altrad's lawyers would consider whether to appeal, adding: "It is essential to emphasise that Montpellier Herault Rugby is neither targeted nor impacted by this decision and that Mohed Altrad will continue to invest his time and energy in his management missions for his club, its employees and its partners."

Related items

  • Jonny May insists ‘X-factor’ Henry Arundell must show patience and adaptability Jonny May insists ‘X-factor’ Henry Arundell must show patience and adaptability
  • France give positive Antoine Dupont fitness update France give positive Antoine Dupont fitness update

    France’s coaching staff have “no doubts” injured captain Antoine Dupont will be available to play in the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup.

    Scrum-half Dupont suffered a facial fracture on Thursday during his country’s 96-0 thrashing of Namibia.

    The 26-year-old Toulouse player is due to report for training on Sunday, having undergone successful surgery.

    Les Bleus assistant coach William Servat told a press conference on Tuesday: “Antoine is in great order today. The operation went very well, and he is resting.


    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by AD (@antoinedupont9)


    “He will return for training on Sunday. Friday and Saturday are our rest days, he will have the time to return in this period of time.

    “I have no doubts about his ability to play in the quarter-final. I think it is reasonable to say that.”

    France top Pool A following three successive victories and have a free weekend ahead of completing their group-stage fixtures on October 6 against Italy in Lyon.

    The hosts are likely to face South Africa, Ireland or Scotland in the last eight of the tournament on the weekend of October 14-15 in Paris.

  • From Elie to Nice – Johnny Matthews buzzing after joining Scotland squad From Elie to Nice – Johnny Matthews buzzing after joining Scotland squad

    Uncapped Glasgow front-rower Johnny Matthews revealed he was stunned to get a call out of the blue on Saturday asking him to fly to France to join Scotland’s World Cup squad.

    The 30-year-old was enjoying a day out in the Fife coastal town of Elie when assistant coach John Dalziel phoned to tell him his services were required after Stuart McInally suffered a neck injury and had to withdraw just over a week after the 33-year-old Edinburgh forward got his own late call-up to replace the concussed Dave Cherry.

    Matthews – effectively the Scots’ sixth-choice hooker – rushed back to Glasgow to get himself organised and caught a flight to Nice on Sunday morning before being officially added to the squad.

    “I’m buzzing to be here,” he said, speaking from the Scots’ training base in the south of France on Tuesday afternoon.

    “I was very shocked to get the call but I’m obviously delighted and just looking to throw my hat into the ring to try to get some games while I’m here.

    “I was in Elie with my wife and some good friends when I got the call from John. We were taking the dogs for a walk and when I saw John’s number pop up I knew he wasn’t phoning for a catch-up.

    “He said ‘how quickly can you get to Nice?’ and now I’m here. It didn’t really feel real until I got here. It was a whirlwind 24 hours, trying to get packed, find my gumshield, get my boots and all the other stuff I needed.

    “My boots were at (Glasgow’s home ground) Scotstoun, so I had to shoot there and get them to keep the place open. I then quickly packed and got on a 6am flight on Sunday morning.

    “Once I finally got here and got the (Scotland World Cup) kit, that’s when it felt real. My wife flew out with me so she is loving it too.”

    Liverpool-born Matthews – who qualifies for Scotland through his Blantyre-born mother – enjoyed an impressive season for Glasgow.

    However, he knew it would be a tall order to make the initial squad, with George Turner, Ewan Ashman, Cherry, McInally and Fraser Brown all more established in the international fold.

    Ultimately the misfortune of Cherry and McInally over the past few weeks, allied to an ACL injury sustained by Brown in May, paved the way for Matthews to land an unlikely crack at the biggest tournament in the game.

    “My aim is to play for Glasgow, and if you do that, you’re always in contention for the Scotland squad I suppose,” he said when asked if the possibility of World Cup involvement had featured prominently in his thoughts.

    “The more I played for Glasgow, the more my hopes got a little bit higher, but it’s a very hotly-contested position. There are five or six brilliant hookers in Scotland so I’m just happy to be here.

    “I was hoping I had an outside chance of making it into the original training squad, but it’s a pretty settled group and there have been the same three, four or five hookers in the last x-amount of squads so I knew I’d have to do pretty well to get in.

    “I was disappointed but it wasn’t a shock that I didn’t get in.”

    With Matthews’ only international appearance to date coming for Scotland A against Chile in June 2022, he now has the chance to win his first full cap at a World Cup, with must-win pool games against Romania and Ireland to come over the next two weekends.

    Asked if he ever thought his opportunity of playing for Scotland had passed him by, Matthews – a prolific try-scorer at club level – said: “You never say never – you just keep playing well for Glasgow, keep scoring and you’ve always got a chance I suppose.

    “It’s a hotly-contested position but I’ll do all I can over the next few days and hopefully I can get in the (match-day) squad. Rugby is a pretty brutal and physical contact sport and hookers are at the coalface.

    “I’m gutted for the boys who have missed out on the opportunity (due to injury) but at the same time you’ve got to look out for yourself and take the opportunity when it presents itself.”

    Although he has not had the same intensive pre-season build-up that the rest of the Scotland players were subjected to, Matthews – who has thrived under Glasgow head coach Franco Smith – feels he is in good condition.

    “I tried to keep myself in a shape that wasn’t round over the summer,” he smiled.

    “I didn’t want to come into Franco’s pre-season unfit anyway. Anyone who has done one of them will tell you you can’t be unfit going into that.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.