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Toulon statement: The €70,000 Cheslin Kolbe salary cap fine

By Liam Heagney
Cheslin Kolbe during his Toulon days (Photo by Gaizka Iroz/AFP via Getty Images)

Toulon have responded to the findings of the recent salary cap investigation into their 2021/22 signing of Cheslin Kolbe from Toulouse. The double Springboks Rugby World Cup winner moved on to play his club rugby for the 2023/24 season in Japan after winning the European Challenge Cup with the French side last May in Dublin.

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However, his departure was followed by the Ligue Nationale de Rugby salary cap disciplinary committee being asked last September to study possible breaches regarding the South African’s previous transfer from Toulouse to Toulon.

It was December 26 when the LNR released the findings of its investigation, handing Toulouse a suspended €50,000 fine for “failure to comply with the general obligation of transparency and cooperation”. Toulon were fined €70,000 for the same reason and both clubs were given seven days to appeal.

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Toulouse quickly indicated they would not be appealing the suspended fine and Toulon have now decided to pay their fine after pondering what their next move should be. A club website statement explained: “The Toulon Rugby Club have taken note of the decision rendered by the specialised section of the disciplinary and regulations committee of the LNR.

“This commission had to judge whether RCT was guilty of exceeding the salary cap ceiling in the 20212022 season as calculated by the salary cap manager for the transfer of Cheslin Kolbe and other points.

“The method of calculating the salary cap was strongly contested by the RCT, both during two mediation sessions organised by the league and before the specialised commission.

“The latter accepted the club’s arguments and rejected those of the salary cap manager and the league, which were essentially based on an interpretation of the rules. The RCT is therefore not to be blamed for exceeding the salary cap.

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“The RCT has been restored to its rights and welcomes this decision. However, the special commission decided to sanction the RCT with a fine of €70,000 for ‘failure to comply with the obligation of transparency and cooperation’ with the salary cap manager.

“The RCT have always cooperated with the latter and the LNR and denies any lack of transparency. However, for the sake of appeasement, the RCT waives its right to appeal to the FFR appeal committee and will pay the fine.”

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