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Rugby.  The leaders of the Mondial-2023 in turmoil

In a long article, the sports daily L’Equipe details “the extremely degraded working climate within the organizing committee of the 2023 World Cup”. With great detail, he recounts a “deep social malaise”, where burn outs, resignations and anxiety attacks mingle under the influence of a “management by terror” set up by Claude Atcher and his chief of staff.

It is to “shed light on this situation” that the new Minister of Sports has decided to seize the labor inspectorate as well as “the ethics committee of the Public Interest Group” (GIP) of the World, added the minister in a press release.

She wants the conclusions of “these investigations to be sent to her as soon as possible”. “The social partners will be brought together tomorrow (Thursday) by the general management of the GIP and fully associated with this investigation and analysis process. »

“Seek the truth”

Questioned Wednesday evening, Claude Atcher did not wish to react, indicating only “to let the people responsible for seeking the truth do their job”.

In the process, the French Rugby Federation (FFR), chaired by Bernard Laporte, announced that it would convene the economic and social committee of France-2023 “so that a social investigation is carried out as soon as possible”. “The FFR joins forces with the State in its desire to shed light on the internal situation,” she added.

Director general of France-2023, Claude Atcher, will also be tried in September, with the president of Montpellier Mohed Altrad and Bernard Laporte, in the context of suspicions of favoritism around the sponsorship of the XV of France. He will appear for “concealment of breach of trust”, “abuse of corporate assets” and “concealed work by concealment of activity”.

Justice suspects him of having benefited, between 2017 and 2018 via non-existent services paid to his company Score XV, from around 80,000 euros that Bernard Laporte would have diverted to the detriment of the FFR.

“Mister 2023”, the former third line has established himself for more than thirty years as a major player in world rugby, even to the point of being named 7th in the ranking of the most influential personalities in world rugby, established in 2020 by Rugby World magazine.

It must be said that Atcher, a former footballer who came to rugby late, is credited with obtaining the organization of the 2007 and 2023 World Cups for France, that of 2019 for Japan.

The Minister of Sports explained “to know the daily involvement” of the GIP teams and “assures them of the full support of the State so that they can continue their mission in the working conditions and the serenity that they deserve.

“Collaborator under pressure”

In a press release, the GIP ensures for its part “to take the full measure of the situation” while affirming that “the leadership and authority of Claude Atcher are essential to set and stay the course until the final closing of the Cup of the rugby world. The “strict and rigorous planning” of this event, he adds, “is likely to generate discomfort among some employees, who may, in this context, feel under pressure”.

The GIP also explained that “the organization of an international event such as the Rugby World Cup implies, de facto, a sustained pace of work within particularly tight deadlines, which are the norm in the event”.

It must “respect the deadlines that have been set jointly with the International Rugby Federation (World Rugby) to carry out an event that meets the expectations of athletes, fans and economic partners, and makes it possible to free up financial resources to allow a lasting legacy to amateur rugby throughout France”.