French rugby boss Laporte suspended
Bernard Laporte has been suspended as French Rugby Federation president while he fights a suspended two-year sentence on corruption charges.
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.
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.
France hosts the Rugby World Cup next year.
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