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French rugby boss Laporte suspended

By AAP
(Photo by Alain Jocard/AFP via Getty Images)

Bernard Laporte has been suspended as French Rugby Federation president while he fights a suspended two-year sentence on corruption charges.

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Laporte self-suspended as World Rugby vice-chairman last week, within hours of a Paris court finding him guilty of passive corruption, influence peddling, illegal interest taking and misuse of corporate assets.

He was banned from holding any position in rugby for two years but his lawyer Jean-Pierre Versini-Campinchi said he would appeal the ruling, meaning the former France coach and sports minister could keep the FFR presidency for now.

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Laporte refused calls to resign from the French sports minister and the FFR’s own ethics committee.

But at a federation board meeting on Monday, Laporte accepted a suspension. He will remain president but suspended until a final ruling in his case. He will no longer take part in decision-making bodies nor sign any commitments on behalf of the FFR.

An interim president will be appointed until Laporte’s judicial appeal is finished.

French sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said Laporte should benefit from the presumption of innocence until a final ruling was reached. But she insisted his sentencing put him in an untenable situation and called on French rugby to act. Laporte is set to meet with the minister on Thursday.

The case focused on Laporte and Mohed Altrad, the owner and president of Montpellier rugby club, who was also found guilty of active corruption, influence peddling, and misuse of corporate assets.

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France hosts the Rugby World Cup next year.

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Jon 2 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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