The former director general of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France, Claude Atcher, laid off for “alarming managerial practices” in August and then dismissed in October, considers himself the victim “of judicial and media harassment which has continued to grow since June”, according to a press release from his lawyers sent on Tuesday, always adding to question the “motivations”.
"We call on the judiciary to be extremely vigilant in the face of this case, which ignores the most basic rights of defense and jeopardizes the reputation of a man in the absence of evidence," the statement continued.
Claude Atcher's counsel consider that he was "the victim of an abusive termination of his employment contract notified on October 10, for an alleged reason for
", a break which took place according to them "at the end of a sham procedure and a report from the labor inspectorate commissioned by the Minister of Sports (Amélie Oudéa-Castéra)".
In this sense, the former boss of the 2023 World Cup seized "the Labor Court to challenge both the procedure and the reason for the termination of his employment contract and obtain respect by the GIP for his legal rights. and contractors”.
The Atcher affair began in June following an article in the sports daily L'Equipe revealing through anonymous testimonies the existence of an "extremely degraded working climate" within France-2023, with a " deep social malaise” among the staff, where burn-outs, resignations and anxiety attacks mingle under the influence of “management by terror” exercised by Claude Atcher and his chief of staff.
The Ministry of Sports had immediately decided to seize the labor inspectorate on “worrying elements”.
On August 29, the Ministry of Sports announced the layoff "as a precaution" of Claude Atcher for the time necessary for the closure of the investigation by the Labor Inspectorate.
On October 11, less than a year before the start of the World Cup, he was finally officially dismissed from his post.
In addition to the moral harassment component, following other articles in L'Equipe, the French courts opened a preliminary investigation at the beginning of November targeting the organizing committee for favouritism, influence peddling, corruption and any other offense related to following a joint report from the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Inspectorate of Education.