Bernard Laporte was on conquered ground.
After two days in police custody for suspicion of favoritism, the president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) resumed his electoral campaign in Saint-Jean-de-Védas, near Montpellier.
Bernard Laporte, who is running for a second term, said he was "relieved" to find freedom.
Very moved, he shed a tear in front of the journalists: "I will never let go", he sobbed, before interrupting his press briefing earlier than expected.
A quarter of an hour later, he had regained his energy for a long meeting in front of about forty presidents of amateur clubs, all committed to his cause.
"It is doubtful that this custody takes place ten days before the elections", sighs Claude Soncourt, leader of RC Védasien
"It's been three years that this case has lasted, it is still doubtful that this custody takes place ten days before the elections," sighs Claude Soncourt, leader of the Védasien rugby club.
"It is not a coincidence, I am convinced of it, bluntly accuses Dominique Fernandez, president of the rugby school of Saint-Jean de Védas.
This is politics in disguise and it is petty.
"For Yvan Vincent, president of the Rubgy Club of Mauguio-Carnon, the matter is not so serious.
These interrogations in custody?
“These are things that happen in life!
You have to move forward.
"We have often been forgotten by the former governorships, gave us the floor and helped us", underlines Pierre Arénas of RO Vedasien
It was also the speech of Bernard Laporte, who only briefly returned to the case.
He especially wanted to relaunch his campaign: “I slept very well last night and I am leaving with enthusiasm, strength and conviction to help amateur clubs who really need it.
I thank all those who left me messages, I felt like I was on New Year's Eve. It's heartwarming!
🏉 Bernard Laporte attacks Florian Grill before bursting into tearshttps: //t.co/YoJ3kwGDpa
- RMC Sport (@RMCsport) September 24, 2020
The leaders thanked him for his support during his first four years as president of the FFR.
"He has brought a lot to amateur clubs," emphasizes Pierre Arénas of Rugby Olympique Vedasien.
We have often been forgotten by the former governorships, gave us the floor and helped us.
»Financial aid in particular: the price of licenses has fallen and the" Fédé "has offered equipment to small clubs.
"A ball for five players, that allowed us to have equipment in good condition," recalls Claude Soncourt.
They also gave us plots, sets of shirts.
This is important for a small serial club. The leaders before had never done it!
All say they are ready to vote again for “Bernie” in the elections in ten days.
They applauded the outgoing president for a long time, who undoubtedly found in Saint-Jean de Védas what he had come to seek: a little moral support.