in the midst of a storm, Claude Atcher says he is the victim of “judicial and media harassment”

Dismissed from his position as CEO of the 2023 World Cup, the leader seized the industrial tribunal and denounced “a procedure marred by serious irregularities”.

Claude Atcher had been dismissed from his post as Director General of the organizing committee of the 2023 World Cup, on October 11, after a vote by the board of directors of the public interest group (GIP). A revocation with immediate effect. The leader had previously been suspended on a protective basis at the end of August due “alarming managerial practices“.

After a daily investigation The Teama report by the GIP ethics committee had highlighted “alarming managerial practices altering the functioning of the structure” and related “the state of suffering of a certain number of collaborators”. “This report from the General Labor Inspectorate corroborates and completes the elements of the report of the GIP France 2023 Ethics Committee, submitted at the end of August and returned during the meeting of the administration committee on September 2”, underlined France 2023 in a press release.

Furthermore, in part of the lawsuit for favoritism involving in particular Bernard Laporte (president of the FFR) and Mohed Altrad (president of Montpellier and main sponsor of the XV of France), Claude Atcher, via the company Score XV, is suspected of concealment of breach of trust, concealed work and abuse of social goods. The prosecutors of the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office requested against him: 2 years in prison, one year suspended sentence, fine of 50,000 euros, three years’ ban on carrying out any commercial activity, one year’s ban on carrying out any activity related with rugby. The deliberation will be delivered on December 13 to the Paris Criminal Court.

In Turmoil, Claude Atcher, who had obtained the organization of the 2007 and 2023 World Cups in France and the 2019 World Cup in Japan, wanted to react, via a press release published on Tuesday by his lawyers. Atcher, 66 years old, denounces the smear campaign of which he has been the target since last June, which led to his expulsion from the GIP France 2023 following an irregular procedure devoid of any foundation, they indicate. For the first time since the serious and unfounded accusations against him, Claude Atcher was able to come back, during this hearing, to his management within the GIP France 2023 and refute the accusations brought against him.

Maîtres Emmanuel Moyne, Georffroy Goubin and Alexandra Voirin add: “This investigation is part of a vast media campaign of continuous and skilfully orchestrated denigration against Claude Atcher.” They hold “to recall that Claude Atcher was the victim of an abusive termination of his employment contract notified on October 10, for an alleged reason of “moral harassment”. This rupture occurred after a sham procedure and a labor inspection report commissioned by the Minister of Sports. (Amelie Oudea-Castera, Editor’s note). This report was drawn up without Claude Atcher even being heard by the labor inspectorate, despite his request. The GIP reports inaccurate and erroneous facts and statements, based on anonymous accusations and taken out of context.

“This case which ignores the most basic rights of defense”

The eviction of Claude Atcher “is in reality only the result of a procedure tainted with serious irregularities, carried out by the GIP France 2023, in defiance of the rules of labor law, the rights of the defense and respect for fundamental freedoms”, is it advanced. Via his representatives, Claude Atcher seized the Labor Court “to challenge both the procedure and the reason for the termination of his employment contract and to obtain the respect by the GIP of its legal and contractual rights.”

In short, argue the lawyers of Claude Atcher, their client “is the target of judicial and media harassment that has continued to grow since last June, and whose motivations we are still questioning. We call on the judiciary to be extremely vigilant in the face of this case, which disregards the most basic rights of defense and jeopardizes the reputation of a man in the absence of evidence.»

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