nine months before the World Cup in France, the embarrassing “Bernard Laporte” case

The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, does not budge: “What is essential in this case is that we really have the highest level of moral standards. » Nine months before the men’s Rugby World Cup in France (September 8 – October 28), Bernard Laporte can no longer be the current president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR). “It is quite clear to everyone”insisted the Minister, Tuesday, December 20, in the program “Les Quatre Vérités” on France 2while a meeting between the two parties is scheduled for Thursday, December 22.

On December 13, the 58-year-old leader was sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence, a 75,000 euro fine and a two-year ban on exercising any function related to rugby, for “passive corruption”, ” influence peddling”, “illegal taking of interests”, “concealment of misuse of corporate assets” and “misuse of corporate assets”.

In the wake of this judgment, World Rugby announced that Mr. Laporte was leaving “temporarily and voluntarily” his functions within the organization governing the discipline at the world level and of which he held the vice-presidency.

On the other hand, it is unthinkable for the boss of French rugby to cede the presidency of the FFR, despite calls for his resignation and the holding of new elections carried by the National Rugby League (LNR) and the Ministry of Sports. In office since 2016, re-elected for a second four-year term in 2020, the former coach appealed against his conviction.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Why Bernard Laporte will remain at the head of the French Rugby Federation, despite his conviction for corruption

“I am a legalist”

“I am a legalistargued the person concerned in an interview with the Sunday newspaper (JDD) dated December 18. I don’t see why I should leave. This would mean that I recognize the facts for which I am accused. Impossible. » The next day, however, the federal office of the FFR announced in a press release that Bernard Laporte was prepared to follow the injunctions of the ethics committee, namely “withdraw temporarily, as a precaution until a final criminal decision”. A delegate president would be appointed to replace him, but Mr. Laporte would remain “in its effects” at the head of the body.

“A first realization”commented Oudéa-Castéra, which however raises many questions. The notion of “withdrawal” not appearing in the texts and statutes that govern the FFR, what guarantees does it come with? As for the deputy president responsible for replacing him, what about the duration of his mission, his legitimacy or his scope of action? What is, moreover, the legal validity of this arrangement?

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