France rugby federation president Bernard Laporte has provided a response after being taken into police custody on Tuesday. The 56-year-old is being questioned alongside Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad for his links with the Altrad Group amid allegations of favouring the Top 14 club when sanctions were handed to them in 2017 for irregularities.
Laporte, who also serves as vice-chairman of World Rugby, is hoping to be re-elected as president of France rugby in ten days time.
In a lengthy message on Facebook, Laporte addressed the situation he finds himself in, describing it as a “rather nauseating electoral strategy” and emphasising that this is only a “preliminary investigation”.
The former France rugby head coach insisted he will not be deterred from his campaign to be re-elected, saying: “I say it loud and clear: we will fight, resist, and revolt.
“I’m very respectful of the work of justice and I have been asking for months that this file be completed as quickly as possible. But the method is revolting. The prosecutor’s numerous refusals concerning the postponement of this hearing are unworthy of the justice of a country like France.
“When justice gets mixed up with politics, both are weakened. I will face this ordeal with strength and serenity. I have no responsibility whatsoever in this case, the contents of which I do not know.”
He also directed his message to amateur clubs in France, saying: “They are trying by incredible means to steal this election from you, to steal your vote for which I fought.”
The post was signed off with an impassioned rallying call by the Frenchman. He said: “To those who have other designs, to those who think they can abandon amateur clubs to their fate, to those who think that the XV of France is not important, they will always find me on their way and they will have to answer for their actions.
“I am more determined than ever to defend this ideal. We must fight and resist. On October 3 at noon, it will be another page of victories for French rugby that will be written, because our team will win. The future is bright. I count on you as much as you can count on me.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 22, 2020
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