On what name will the 1,900 clubs in the country called upon to vote “for” or “against” the delegate president that Bernard Laporte himself will have proposed to the federal office of the FFR by the end of the month?
Several favorites have emerged since Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castérain order to avoid “a bloodbath” within the federation, accepted the principle of the withdrawal of the boss of French rugby pending a final criminal decision.
Patrick Buisson, vice-president of the FFR in charge of amateur rugby since October 2020, is one of them.
Former leader of the Uzès club, in the Gard, and of the Provence committee, he was previously responsible for digital reform and simplification at the federation during the first term of Bernard Laporte, to whom he is close.
This 65-year-old former scrum half, computer scientist in civilian life, would make more consensus with the amateur community than the current N.2 of the FFR, Serge Simon, also involved in the affair which embarrasses French rugby at eight months of the World Cup in France (September 8-October 28).
The former pillar of Bègles-Bordeaux and Stade Français, Bernard Laporte’s right arm, was released in December by the Paris Criminal Court on the charge of “illegal taking of interests”. But the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) has since appealed this decision.
“A parody of voting”
Whatever name emerges from the federal office on Friday, the opposition to Bernard Laporte, led by the president of the Ile-de-France league Florian Grill, calls on French clubs to “say no” to what it qualifies as a “referendum”.
“It’s a travesty of voting! The proposed referendum is an ersatz democracy,” she wrote in a statement released on Tuesday. “The artificial maintenance of Bernard Laporte and his team is only the result of the weakness of the statutes of the FFR concerning the ethics and ethics of its leaders”.
“The choice of a successor by a condemned president makes us look ridiculous in the eyes of the whole world”, adds the Oval list together, which would have preferred a general election.
Bernard Laporte was given a two-year suspended prison sentence on December 13 for having entered into a “corruption pact” with businessman and president of the Montpellier club Mohed Altrad.
Having appealed the decision, his sentence, together with the ban on exercising his activity as president of the FFR, is not immediately enforceable.
The former coach of the Blues refuses as such to resign but agreed, under the joint pressure of the Minister of Sports, the National Rugby League (LNR) and the ethics committee of the FFR, to withdraw behind a delegate president until the appeal trial, which should only take place after the Mondial-2023.
As the minister had asked him directly in December, he undertook to cede “all of his prerogatives” to this lining, which the clubs will first have to dub.