Bernard Laporte withdraws from the presidency of the FFR until a call for corruption is heard

Bernard Laporte will step down from his role as president of the French Rugby Federation following his corruption conviction, but he could return to the top job.

Former French coach Laporte wanted to remain in charge of the federation (FFR), but on Monday accepted a decision from his ethics commission ordering him to relinquish power.

Sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence last Tuesday, Laporte resigned as vice-president of World Rugby within hours by “self-suspension”. He will now follow a similar path with the highest authority in French rugby.

An investigation has looked into a number of decisions made by Laporte in favor of Montpellier Top 14 chairman Mohed Altrad, including awarding a shirt sponsorship deal for the France team to the construction company from Altrad.

Laporte, who was France’s head coach between 1999 and 2007, was also fined 75,000 euros and given a two-year ban from rugby by the Paris Criminal Court.

He has denied any wrongdoing and must appeal his sanctions. Consequently, the FFR has not definitively ousted Laporte at this stage, which leaves him the possibility of clearing his name.

The ethics committee told the 58-year-old he must accept “a temporary withdrawal, as a precaution until a final criminal decision” from all presidential functions, with a temporary successor to be put in place.

According to the FFR, Laporte chose to follow the instructions “to the letter”. He will remain president, officially at least, but will be powerless.

“He is asked to temporarily withdraw until the final criminal decision is taken,” said the federation.

“This implies in particular that the president will no longer participate in the various decision-making bodies of the French Rugby Federation, and will no longer sign any commitment under the FFR.”

The FFR said it intended the action to take effect after a meeting between Laporte and Amélie Oudéa-Castera, France’s sports minister, scheduled for Thursday.

Oudea-Castera was among the first to ask Laporte to resign after his conviction, saying it would be inappropriate for him to remain in control before France host the Rugby World Cup next year.

She also expressed her opposition to the idea of ​​an alternate president, questioning the “legitimacy” of such a presence at the top of the organization.

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