Claude Atcher, the ousted boss of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, heard in police custody

The former boss of the organization of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Claude Atcher, was questioned in police custody on Tuesday May 14 and Wednesday May 15, as part of the preliminary investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) opened in October 2022 for favoritism, influence peddling, corruption, illegal taking of interests and illegal sale of places, reported the daily L'Equipe – information confirmed to Le Monde by a source close to the matter

Claude Atcher, the ousted boss of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, heard in police custody

The former boss of the organization of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Claude Atcher, was questioned in police custody on Tuesday May 14 and Wednesday May 15, as part of the preliminary investigation by the National Financial Prosecutor's Office (PNF) opened in October 2022 for favoritism, influence peddling, corruption, illegal taking of interests and illegal sale of places, reported the daily L'Equipe – information confirmed to Le Monde by a source close to the matter. The measure is now lifted, without prosecution at this stage.

The PNF investigation, entrusted to the Paris research section, concerns the management of the public interest group (GIP) France 2023, responsible for organizing the Rugby World Cup, of which Mr. Atcher was the director.

It follows a joint report from the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and Research, concerning in particular the management of the manager, who was dismissed from his position in mid-October 2022 Searches were carried out at the headquarters of GIP France 2023 in November 2022.

“Management by terror”

The joint mission had been working since the summer of 2022 to “analyze the existence of possible breaches of economic and financial probity or conflicts of interest” within the GIP. L'Equipe revealed, in November of the same year, that the investigators were interested in the personal expenses of the ex-boss, which could have been unduly covered by the structure, from the use of VTC to certain past markets through possible irregularities linked to the ticketing of the 2023 World Cup.

At the end of June 2022, the sports daily also published a long survey reporting the unhappiness at work of France 2023 employees, linked to “management by terror” potentially initiated by Claude Atcher. Immediately afterwards, the Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, requested referral to the labor inspectorate and the ethics committee of the GIP, in which the French Rugby Federation (FFR) has a majority (more than 60%). , and the minority state.

The submission of the ethics committee's report, at the beginning of September 2022, led the Ministry of Sports, in concert with the FFR and the French National Olympic and Sports Committee, to dismiss Claude Atcher as a precautionary measure while awaiting the investigation by the labor inspectorate. He was finally dismissed on October 11, 2022, less than a year before the start of the Rugby World Cup in France.