France Investigates Laporte.

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 15:40
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The French government has  instigated an investigation into the president of the French Rugby Federation, Bernard Laporte.

All is not happy within the Federation with suggestions that behind Laporte's professorial look of gentleness there lurks a dictator who has surrounded himself with compliant supporters.

The investigation, on the surface, may seem trivial - that Laporte used his influence to enable Montpellier to get off more lightly than they should have after public protests at Montpellier's Altrad Stadium. The Federation's disciplinary committee imposed a fine of seventy thousand euros (US$84 000, GB£64 000) and a one-match stadium ban on Montpellier. Laporte intervened and the fine was reduced to €20 000 (US$24 000, GB£18 000) - a significant saving. And the stadium suspension was lifted.

Montpellier's ground, Altrad Stadium, is named after Mohed Altrad, the owner of Montpellier, a man born in Syria who has made a fortune in various ways and is based in Montpellier. He is the man that ended Jake White's involvement with the club. Laporte's company, BL Communications, consults to an Altrad company, a contract worth 150 000 euros (US$180 000, GB£137 000). Laporte thus stands accused of possible conflict of interest.

The disciplinary committee had 13 members but so far seven have resigned, leaving the committee unable to deal with current  disciplinary problems, including appeals by currently suspended players.

It is intended that seven replacements on the disciplinary committee will be announced on 23 September 2017.

Laporte has denied any impropriety in his part and blamed those opposed to his presidency for stirring up trouble. The accusations surfaced on Saturday, 3 September 2017. and on Monday he cancelled the contract between his BL Communications and the Altrad Group.

Bernard Laporte, who is 53 years old, played for Bordeaux-Bègles and later coached at Racing, Bayonne and Toulon. He was France's national coach (1999-2007)  and then France's  Secretary of State for Youth and Sports (2007-09)

Source: ESPN & Midi Libre