PARIS (AP)The 2023 Rugby World Cup chief executive Claude Atcher has been fired following an investigation by French labor inspectors into his workplace conduct.
Atcher had already been suspended in August following an internal investigation at the request of sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera, which showed ”alarming managerial practices” and ”the suffering of some employees.”
The World Cup starts in 11 months in Paris.
A final decision regarding Atcher’s position was taken by the organizing committee’s board of directors during an extraordinary session on Monday evening.
French labor authorities started their investigation after L’Equipe newspaper published in June a story that described a ”climate of terror” at the organizing committee and alleged improper management by Atcher.
”The report brought forward by the French Labor Inspectorate corroborates and complements the report produced by the France 2023 ethics committee, submitted at the end of August and reviewed on 2 September by the France 2023 board of directors,” tournament organizers said.
The board of directors appointed Julien Collette – Atcher’s former deputy general director – as a replacement. Martine Nemecek was named deputy CEO.
”These appointments will ensure that the preparations for Rugby World Cup 2023 can continue in the highest level of professionalism and in a peaceful social climate,” organizers said.
In a separate corruption case also involving French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte, prosecutors have requested a two-year sentence, including one year in jail, for Atcher. He has been accused of embezzling tens of thousands of euros from the federation by using his close bond with Laporte. A verdict is expected on Dec. 13, with Laporte also facing time in prison.
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