The president of the French Rugby Union (FFR), Bernard Laporte, who was sentenced on December 13 to two years in prison for corruption, refuses to leave his post, as he has appealed the decision, he says in an interview with Sunday newspaper of 18 December.
“I am a legalist: I do not see why I should go. That would mean that I acknowledge the conditions of which I am accused. impossible”Mr. Laporte responds especially to those who are pressuring him to leave his functions at the head of the FFR.
In office since late 2016, the president of the federation, re-elected in 2020 for a four-year term, was found guilty of five of the six offenses for which he was prosecuted, including passive corruption and influence peddling.
Since he appealed the decision of the Paris Criminal Court, his suspended prison sentence, as well as the ban on exercising the activity of president of the FFR for a period of two years, is not immediately enforceable.
But since the verdict, many voices have been raised to ask him to leave, including the Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera, the National Rugby League (LNR) or even the FFR’s Federal Committee of Ethics and Deontology.
“I’m sure I’m innocent”
To all, Mr. Laporte, 58, opposes an end to rejection in his interview with JDD. “They have the right to say what they want, I’m sure I’m innocent. Besides, there are statutes, so we respect them. If 30% of the clubs and the votes demand an extraordinary general meeting, and two-thirds of the registered voters votes for the board’s resignation, then there can be new elections.he thinks.
Asked about the interview he will soon have with the minister, Bernard Laporte replies that he knows her ” a little “ and he has “nothing against her”. “I got it on the phone, I’m going to see her and we’ll talk. At least it doesn’t prevent me from standing for election again”he says.
On Friday, the Confederation’s Federal Committee for Ethics and Professional Conduct asked the former France XV coach in a three-page letter to “withdraw temporarily as a precautionary measure pending a final criminal decision”.
“I will of course take his decision into consideration, which will be submitted to the federal office as soon as we can summon him”, Mr. Laporte replies when asked about this statement. According to information from Agence France-Presse, this federal office must be held before the end of the year.