Atcher axed as chief executive of France’s Rugby World Cup

Featured image credit: Guilhem Vellut/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size

Claude Atcher has been sacked as chief executive of the local organising committee for next year’s Rugby World Cup in France.

The decision comes following an investigation by the French Labour Inspectorate, which was launched after an article published by French newspaper L’Équipe revealed the “social climate” the organising committee operated in under Atcher.

France 2023’s board of directors met in an extraordinary session yesterday (Monday), with tournament president Jacques Rivoal sharing the conclusions revealed by the investigation into its workplace culture.

France 2023 said the report brought forward by the French Labour Inspectorate “corroborates and complements” the report produced by its own ethics committee, which was submitted at the end of August and reviewed on September 2 by the France 2023 board of directors.

Following the board meeting, Atcher’s suspension was ratified by France 2023’s founding members – the French Rugby Federation (FFR), the French State, and the French National Olympic and Sports Committee (CNOSF) – and the board of directors has now decided to terminate his contract.

Atcher was suspended as chief executive of the organising committee in August, with the French Ministry of Sports at the time citing a “deep social malaise” within the organisation. L’Équipe’s report included around 15 witness statements and detailed the “management by terror” at the organising committee.

Following Atcher’s departure, Julien Collette has been appointed chief executive, with Martine Nemecek to serve as deputy chief executive. France 2023 said these appointments will ensure that preparations for the tournament can continue with the “highest level of professionalism and in a peaceful social climate”.