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World Rugby concerned about French bullies

REACTION: The first bombshell has dropped on the 2023 World Cup, with reports of alleged ‘bullying’ of staff.


World Rugby said in a statement that it was “concerned” by the reports of allegations that the leaders of the France 2023 World Cup organising committee created a ‘toxic environment’ in which staff were verbally abused and overworked.

French newspaper L’Equipe said it spoke to employees of the Groupement d’Interet Public France 2023, who worked at the Paris headquarters and they described a culture of fear and “management by terror”.

At the centre of the allegations were France’s 2023 Rugby World Cup chief Claude Atcher and his chief of staff Marie Houzot.

World Rugby reacted with a curt statement saying it was “concerned” about allegations of the working conditions within the organizing committee.

The French Ministry of Sports also spoke out and is set to launch an investigation.

Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra announced that she had referred the matter to the Labor Inspectorate, after having “read the worrying elements reported by the newspaper The Team relating to the social climate, labour relations and the management of the GIP France 2023 teams, in charge of the organization of the Rugby World Cup“.


“We note that the matter is being considered by the France 2023 Ethics Committee and we welcome the French Sports Ministry’s call for a comprehensive investigation to be undertaken by the labour office,” World Rugby said in a statement.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further until the outcome of these ongoing investigations.”

Source: L’Equipe, Reuters & @WorldRugby



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