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French rugby boss Bernard Laporte quits role after conviction

NEWS: Bernard Laporte on Friday resigned from his role as president of France’s Rugby Union federation after being convicted of corruption, the sports minister said.

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“I can confirm that Bernard Laporte has resigned,” Amelie Oudea-Castera told reporters after a meeting of the federation’s top officials.

Laporte, a former coach of the France national team, received a two-year suspended prison sentence in December.

A court found he had shown favouritism in awarding a shirt sponsorship contract for the national side to Mohed Altrad, the billionaire owner of Top 14 champions Montpellier.

The affair has clouded France’s preparations to hold the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Laporte, a charismatic but sometimes abrasive figure who had been at the helm of French rugby since 2016, had already stepped down from his role as vice-chairman of the sport’s global governing body, World Rugby.

In addition to his suspended prison sentence he was banned in December from holding any rugby post for two years, but this is suspended pending an appeal.

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Laporte had already stood down from his job pending Friday’s meeting.

His proposal to appoint Patrick Buisson as interim president was rejected after a vote by French clubs on Thursday.

On Tuesday Laporte was released without charge after being detained earlier in the day as part of an investigation into an unrelated alleged tax fraud.

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