Rugby World Cup boss Atcher suspended by French sports minister
Published: Aug 30, 2022 07:06 PM
Rugby World Cup  Photo: IC

Rugby World Cup Photo: IC

The chief executive of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, Claude Atcher, was suspended on Monday by French sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera as a preliminary investigation into his management style found evidence of a "deep social malaise" within the organization. 

"Atcher will no longer be present or active, directly or indirectly, within, in the name of and on behalf of the GIP [organizing committee] during the period of layoff," the ministry said in a statement. 

A definitive decision will be delivered at a later date.

Atcher's suspension, which comes just over a year before the tournament kicks off in Paris, was prompted by the preliminary findings of a Labour Inspectorate investigation which was launched at the end of June after an article in sports daily L'Equipe accused him of "management by terror."

A report by the ethics committee had accused the 66-year-old of "alarming managerial practices altering the functioning of the structure and the suffering of a certain number of employees."

In the article in L'Equipe, several former and current employees, speaking on condition of anonymity, spoke out about the "management by terror" set up by Atcher and his chief of staff within the organization.

World Rugby issued a statement admitting that it was "deeply concerned" by the allegations. 

"The well-being of the rugby family is paramount and central to the values of unity, inclusion and togetherness that embody the World Cup," added World Rugby who stressed its desire to work with the organizing committee "to deliver together an exceptional Rugby World Cup in France."

Atcher's deputy Julien Collette is expected to be installed as his provisional replacement at an emergency board meeting on Friday. 

The Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 8 in 2023 with hosts France playing against New Zealand at the Stade de France which will also be the venue for the final on October 28.