Rugby World Cup 2023 chief executive Claude Atcher has been laid off “as a precaution” and “with immediate effect, for the time necessary to close the investigation currently being carried out by the labor inspectorate”, announced Monday, August 29, the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra. Mr. Atcher is temporarily replaced as general manager of the public interest group (GIP) France 2023 – the institution responsible for organizing the World Cup – by Julien Collette, current deputy general manager.
At the end of June, a labor inspection investigation was launched after an article from the sports daily The Team detailing a “deep social malaise” within the GIP.
This decision was taken in consultation with the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF). It comes after a report from the ethics committee which mentions the part of Claude Atcher “alarming managerial practices altering the functioning of the structure and the state of suffering of a certain number of collaborators”.
The FFR “Is fully associated with the action plan decided today in consultation with the Ministry of Sports and the President of GIP France 2023, Jacques Rivoal”. “The deep values of rugby call for perfect vigilance in respecting them. The FFR has based its action on the protection of all its populations, employees are obviously part of its priorities.she explained, adding that she “will convene an extraordinary board of directors of the GIP to ratify this decision during the week”continued the instance.
For its part, World Rugby, the governing body of world rugby, has made it known that it “fully approved the conclusions and the action plan communicated by the French Ministry of Sports today on the subject of the social climate within the France 2023 organizing committee”. “World Rugby is deeply concerned by the allegations presented in the French media. The welfare of the rugby family is paramount and central to the values of unity, inclusion and togetherness that the World Cup embodies.”she added.
“Analyze the existence of any shortcomings”
“Claude Atcher will no longer be present or active, directly or indirectly, within, in the name and on behalf of the GIP during the layoff period”, the ministry said in a statement. An exceptional Board of Directors will meet on Friday to “validate that the missions of the general manager will be carried out by Julien Collette, deputy general manager of the GIP”.
In an article by The Teamseveral employees of the organizing committee, former and current, denounced on condition of anonymity the “management by terror” set up by Claude Atcher and his chief of staff within the GIP. The press release continues:
“A joint mission of the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research is triggered by the State to, on the one hand, analyze the existence of possible breaches of economic and financial probity or conflicts of interest and, on the other hand, supporting the GIP in the organization of some of its strategic programs. »
The 2023 World Cup is scheduled in France from September 8 to October 28.
Claude Atcher, a former third-line, will also be tried, from September 7, with the president of the FFR, Bernard Laporte, and the boss of the Montpellier club, Mohed Altrad, within the framework of suspicions of favoritism around sponsorship of the XV of France.
He will appear for “concealment of breach of trust”, ” misuse of corporate assets “ and of “concealed work by concealment of activity”. Just over a year from kick-off, the 2023 World Cup is faltering.