Will Bernard Laporte still be in post at the kick-off of France – New Zealand, the opening gala match of the 2023 World Cup? The ethics committee of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) on Friday asked the former minister to step down as president, after his conviction for his involvement in a “corruption pact” linked to the sponsorship of the jersey of the XV of France.
The information, revealed by the daily The Team, has since been confirmed to Agence France-Presse (AFP) by sources familiar with the matter. According The Teamif this injunction to resign was not followed, the Disciplinary Committee of the Federation could be seized.
Bernard Laporte and businessman Mohed Altrad, president of the Montpellier club (South), were sentenced on Tuesday, December 13 by the Paris Criminal Court. Meeting the day after the conviction of the president of the FFR, who appealed, the ethics committee sent a letter of several pages to Bernard Laporte, but also to the sports ministry, explained a source to AFP.
This committee, according to the regulations of the FFR, is “with independent discretion” and he “is empowered to seize the competent disciplinary bodies and responsible for ensuring the application of the rugby ethics and professional conduct charter and compliance with the rules of ethics, professional conduct, prevention and treatment of conflicts of interest ».
Towards new elections to the FFR?
In office since the end of 2016, Bernard Laporte, 58, was re-elected president of the FFR in 2020 for a four-year term. He was found guilty of five of the six offenses for which he was charged, including “passive corruption and influence peddling”.
Since he appealed the decision, his suspended prison sentence, as well as the ban on exercising the activity of president of the FFR for a period of two years, are not immediately enforceable.
In the hours following the judgment, the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, had called for “a new democratic era to allow French rugby as quickly as possible to start again on a sufficiently healthy and solid foundation”.
A little later, Bernard Laporte withdrew “temporarily and voluntarily” from his duties as vice-president of World Rugby, the governing body of world rugby, but not from the presidency of the FFR. Thursday, it was the National Rugby League (LNR), responsible for professional rugby in France, which claimed “new elections” “Faced with this unprecedented situation”.