The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) indicated on Wednesday, November 9, that a preliminary investigation had been opened in early October into the management of the public interest group (GIP) France-2023, responsible for organizing the Rugby World Cup. , confirming information from the Team. A search was underway on Wednesday morning at the headquarters of GIP France-2023, the organizing committee also indicated. The PNF confirmed carrying out searches at various locations.
The investigation was opened for favouritism, influence peddling, corruption and any other related offence, following a report from the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Inspectorate of Education, Sport and the research. The investigations were entrusted to the Paris Research Section.
According to the team, “the criminal investigation is interested in these possible personal expenses borne by the GIP 2023, in certain past contracts and also in alleged irregularities linked to the ticketing of the 2023 World Cup”. At the end of June, the sports daily had published a long survey relating the malaise at work due to “management by terror” of the former managing director Claude Atcher.
Immediately afterwards, the Minister of Sports Amélie Oudéa-Castéra had requested referral to the Labor Inspectorate as well as to the ethics committee of the GIP, in which the French Rugby Federation (FFR) has a majority (more than 60%) and the minority state.
“Alarming managerial practices”
The submission of the report of the ethics committee this summer, mentioned “alarming managerial practices”. This had led the Ministry of Sports in early September, in concert with the FFR and the French Olympic Committee, which also sits on the GIP, to lay off Claude Atcher as a precautionary measure pending the investigation by the Labor Inspectorate. . He was finally removed from his position as general manager of the organizing committee on October 11, less than a year before the start of the competition.
In addition, a joint mission of the General Inspectorate of Finance and the General Inspectorate of Higher Education and Research has been working since this summer on ” possible breaches of economic and financial probity or conflicts of interest” within the GIP. According to the Ministry of Sports, “the report was made by the two inspections on the base” of their interim report. Both services continue to work.