Bernard Laporte has been narrowly re-elected as France rugby president after winning 51.47 per cent of the vote on Saturday less than two weeks after he was taken into police custody by the fraud squad in Paris. 

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Laporte, who became World Rugby vice-president last May as part of the Bill Beaumont re-election ticket, will now keep his position in France until 2024 after opposition candidate Florian Grill fell short by polling 48.53 per cent of the vote. 

Of those entitled to have a say in the election, 95.21 per cent of the votes were cast. The result is no surprise as Laporte was for quite some time the favourite in the re-election race. 

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In recent weeks, however, the gap between the two candidates closed and even a L’Equipe poll had Grill ahead on 52 per cent at one stage.

Laporte, though, redoubled his canvassing in the wake of his two-day questioning by the French fraud squad after he was taken into custody on September 22. 

The 56-year-old was questioned alongside Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad about his links to the Altrad Group and the alleged preferential treatment he may have given to the Top 14 side when reducing a sanction against them in 2017. 

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Altrad’s company is not only the shirt sponsor of the French national team, but the billionaire offered financial support in France’s successful bid to host the 2023 Rugby World Cup. 

Laporte wrote a letter on Facebook after his police release saying there was a campaign against him in his bid to be re-elected as the president of France rugby.

He said at the time: “I approached these ‘talks’ with serenity. When you have nothing to be ashamed of, you have the strength of truth with you. 

“Justice will do its work and I trust it. I know the truth of my actions and they are all in the best interests of our clubs, without ever being an exception to the rule.”

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