L'Equipe, a sports newspaper, describes "the very degraded working environment within the 2023 World Cup organizing Committee". He describes a "deep social malaise" where resignations, burnouts, and anxiety attacks all co-exist under the "management by terror", which was set up by Claude Atcher, his chief of staff.
The new Minister of Sports decided to seize both the labor inspectorate and "the ethics committee for the Public Interest Group" (GIP), in order to "shed light upon this situation", according to a press release.
She would like the results of "these investigations" to be sent to she as soon as possible. The GIP's general management will bring together the social partners tomorrow (Thursday), and they will be fully involved in the investigation and analysis process.
Claude Atcher, when questioned Wednesday evening, did not want to respond. He indicated that he was only letting the people who are responsible for finding the truth do their jobs.
The French Rugby Federation (FFR), headed by Bernard Laporte announced that it would convene France-2023's economic and social committee "so that a sociological investigation can be carried out as quickly as possible." She added that the FFR joined forces with the State to help shed light on the internal circumstances.
Claude Atcher, director general of France-2023 will be also tried along with Bernard Laporte and Bernard Mohed Altrad in September. This is in connection to suspicions of favoritism regarding the sponsorship of the XV of France. He will be tried for "concealment in breach of trust", abuse of corporate assets, and concealment of activity.
Justice suspects him, in particular, of having benefited between 2017 and 2018, via non-existent services that were paid to Score XV. This was approximately 80,000 euros Bernard Laporte would have diverted for the FFR's benefit.
"Mister 2023", a former third-line player, has been a prominent player in international rugby for over thirty years. He was even named 7th in the list of most influential people in rugby in 2020 by Rugby World magazine.
It is important to mention that Atcher, a former player in football, was instrumental in arranging the 2007 and 2023 World Cups of Rugby for France and the 2019 World Cup for Japan.
The Minister of Sports stated that he "knows the daily involvement" and "assures them that the State will continue to support their mission in the working conditions, and the serenity they deserve."
The GIP issued a press release in which it stated that its part was to "take the full measure of the circumstances" and reiterated that "Claude Atcher's leadership and authority are crucial to maintain the course and close the Cup of the Rugby World." He says that the event's "strict and meticulous planning" could cause discomfort for some employees who might feel pressured in this setting.
GIP explained that the organization of an international event like the Rugby World Cup requires a sustained pace of work within very tight deadlines. This is the norm for the event.
It must respect the deadlines set by the International Rugby Federation (World Rugby), in order to organize an event that meets all expectations, including those of fans, athletes, and financial partners. This will allow for the creation of financial resources that can be used to support amateur rugby throughout France.