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Racing's Lorenzetti comes out swinging

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'I do not want to do paranoia but I was very annoyed after this salary cap story'

Racing owner Jacky Lorenzetti believes there has been a negative attitude constantly shown towards his club by the French League ever since they made their way out of Pro D2 and into the Top 14 in 2009. 

An investigation into alleged irregularities in the salary cap during the 2017/18 season is the latest negativity that the Parisian club has had to deal, a review that also includes Montpellier and Toulon. 

Racing claim they complied with everything that was asked of them, leaving Lorenzetti frustrated that a brand-damaging story was allowed to filter out into the public domain. 

In an in-depth interview with Midi Olympique, the bi-weekly French rugby newspaper, the club owner hit back at what he feels is a system that frequently looks upon Racing with a dismissive view.

“Racing was not pinned neither for irregularities nor for anything. Since the salary cap manager is in place, we have always met the standards imposed,” he insisted. 

“The salary cap manager simply taxes us for having been in bad faith when we submit certain documents to the file. He considers that we did not do it on time. It’s that simple.

“They [those documents] focused on the vehicles and accommodations made available by the club. The information was given… we were a little annoyed by what we consider fierce against the Racing entity on the part of the system. 

“We are a Parisian club, we are supposed to be rich, we have all the faults of the land… I remember that Racing had already been the object of ostracism, there is no other word, when the club rose out of the second division. 

“Suddenly, the league decided that there would be no more climbing bonus. We still talk about €350,000, it’s not nothing! 

“Later, Laurent Labit has twice fine €50,000 euros for inappropriate remarks. Ronan O’Gara? He also received a penalty of €30,000. And in the appeal commission of the FFR, we never had a reduction of a sentence!

“I do not want to do paranoia but I was very annoyed after this salary cap story. Without dragging their feet, we took a long time to gather the pieces and send them in a time that is considered reasonable. We answered the questions, we played the game, we will now see what the verdict is.”

Jacky Lorenzetti

Racing owner Jacky Lorenzetti

Racing, who won the French title in 2016, were knocked out in the quarter-finals last season at home to La Rochelle, but it’s a disappointment Lorenzetti hasn’t dwelt too long on. 

“Last season was disappointing but Racing is the only club in the championship that has never left the wagon of the six qualifiers since our rise in Top 14 in 2009. Every year, we are in the finals. Clermont did not do it, Toulouse did not do it, Toulon did not do it. And how long has Stade Francais been running behind the qualifiers?

“Victory, titles, is our adrenaline. We are not at Racing to play rugby. We are at Racing to win. The problem is that the other 13 clubs in the Top 14 have exactly the same ambition.”

Rugby has always been about the sport for Lorenzetti, not making money, an approach that found him at odds when he recently met some key figures of the new Major League Rugby concept in America.

“I came to the sport for sport. I’m not here for business. Recently, I visited the leaders of American rugby. During the conversation, I talked to them about sport and they said to me: ‘No, we talk business, Mr Lorenzetti! We are here to make money!’

“It’s not my thing. I’m an entrepreneur. I make my living making real estate, wine and now concerts. Sport is not about making money and if rugby gets there one day, I do not know if it will always interest me. I can’t imagine, for example, a closed league that would leave Grenoble or Biarritz at the door. I do not want anyone to forbid Béziers, Narbonne and Perpignan to dream.

“Our championship is exceptional, unheard: 10 teams fight each year for the title! Where do we see that? In football, the suspense is cooked after three days.”

WATCH: Part one of the two-part RugbyPass documentary on what the fans can expect to experience at the World Cup in Japan

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'I do not want to do paranoia but I was very annoyed after this salary cap story'