The explosions of the Laporte-Altrad affair quickly exceeded the borders of France.
This Tuesday, Bernard Laporte, president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), and Mohed Altrad, CEO of the eponymous construction giant and main sponsor of the XV of France, were sentenced to suspended prison sentences for having tied
“a corruption pact”
in 2017. Sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence, Bernard Laporte was found guilty of having rendered a series of arbitrations for the benefit of the Altrad group (in particular the granting of the sponsorship of the Blues jersey) after having received on his part 180,000 euros in March 2017 under an image contract (never executed).
For these facts, Mohed Altrad is sentenced to 18 months suspended prison sentence.
In France, the debate on the future of Laporte at the head of the FFR is already being debated - especially after the position taken by the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra -, the affair is also causing a stir outside France. 'Hexagon.
Immediately after his conviction and appeal, Laporte stepped down "
temporarily and voluntarily
with immediate effect
" from his duties as vice-chairman of World Rugby.
In the Anglo-Saxon world, we do not trifle with court cases and convictions.
The Executive Committee of the International Federation, in the process, “
referred the file to its independent ethics officer for review in accordance with its code of integrity
Read alsoRugby: Laporte's conviction "obstructs" his mission at the head of the FFR, warns the Minister of Sports
The British press is logically wondering about the consequences of this affair on the 2023 World Cup which will take place in France (September 8-October 28).
This verdict comes barely nine months before France hosts the World Cup, over which a considerable shadow now hovers
, English daily newspaper of reference.
This is "
a huge shock for French rugby
the tabloid The Daily Mirror
which recalls that "
the passive bribery charges against Laporte relate to four separate business transactions that involved Altrad and his company.
This included Laporte's vote in favor of Altrad's proposed takeover of the Gloucester Premiership side, as well as a partnership deal for next year's World Cup.
“For the Irish columnist of
the shame of Bernard Laporte casts a shadow over World Rugby and the 2023 World Cup
“A power vacuum at the top of World Rugby governance”
For the president of the FFR, it is a big blow, he who planned to take the presidency of World Rugby, at the end of his second mandate at the head of the FFR, in succession to the Englishman Bill Beaumont.
During the last election for the presidency of World Rugby, Bill Beaumont and Bernard Laporte had made an alliance to dismiss the Argentinian Agustin Pichot, former scrum half of the Pumas and ex-right arm of Beaumont.
Laporte was chairman Bill Beaumont's running mate in the 2020 World Rugby election and the governing body will face pressure to act decisively so close to a World Cup which has already been marred by scandal
' , supports
Read alsoAt the heart of the Laporte affair, Mohed Altrad, Serge Simon and Claude Atcher are doing well
From now on, there is a vacant post at the head of the International Federation and, on the side of the heavyweights of the southern hemisphere in loss of influence, we are already worried about who will take the place of Laporte.
Thus, Georgina Robinson in the
Sydney Morning Herald
underlines that “
this decision leaves a vacuum of power at the top of the governance of World Rugby, the support of Laporte in 2020 being the key to the re-election of chairman Bill Beaumont.
“And to add:”
(that of Laporte),
if left vacant, will likely be filled by an official from a major northern hemisphere federation, a move that could push the balance of power even further away from the interests of southern hemisphere nations like Australia, the New Zealand, South Africa or Argentina.
The Western Force in expectation
The conviction of Mohed Altrad also raises many questions on the other side of the globe.
The construction magnate has indeed recently become the jersey sponsor of the prestigious All Blacks, one of the most famous sports brands in the world with Brazil in football.
The New Zealand Rugby Federation (NZRU) indeed announced on Wednesday that it would quickly request a discussion with the company Altrad.
We will immediately summon representatives of the company
as well as all of our key partners
,” New Zealand Rugby said in a statement.
We have been discussing this possible (legal) outcome for some time.
“Adds the Kiwi Federation.
The contract between NZRU and Altrad is estimated at 113 million euros over six years.
Another team, Australian this time, is directly impacted by the conviction of Mohed Altrad: the Western Force.
"La Force is in talks with the Altrad Group and key club stakeholders following the verdict of a French court overnight
," the Perth-based franchise, which competes in Super Rugby Pacific, said in a statement. who adds that she “
takes this matter very seriously and will seek further information from the company.
The club will consider their sponsorship with Altrad accordingly.