World Rugby’s executive committee has an empty seat. The international body announced on Tuesday 13 December that its vice-president, Bernard Laporte, had withdrawn “temporarily and voluntarily” but with immediate effect. The former French national rugby team coach, who is also president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), was given a suspended two-year prison sentence by the Paris criminal court and fined 75,000 euros for passive corruption and influence peddling for the benefit of Mohed Altrad, the president of the Montpellier club. Bernard Laporte was also banned from any activity in the world of rugby for two years, including the presidency of the FFR and the vice-presidency of the international federation. But the Frenchman has appealed against his conviction. As his appeal has suspensive effect, sanctions pronounced by the Criminal Court in Paris are not immediately enforceable. World Rugby also explained that it had entrusted the head of its independent ethics committee, former New Zealand police officer Neil Hallett, with ask of ruling on Bernard Laporte’s case.
— Published 14 December 2022