A return which is now official. Bernard Laporte, former president of the French Rugby Federation, arrives at the bedside of the Montpellier club, red lantern in Top 14, as director of rugby in place of Philippe Saint-André, made the Hérault club official this Sunday, after the announcement of President Mohed Altrad in the JDD. “In the current sporting emergency context of the MHR, the arrival of Bernard Laporte aims to save the club and restore cohesion to the sporting project. His leadership, his team spirit, his culture of winning: all these common values which are dear to the MHR institution weighed in the club's decision,” indicates the MHR in a press release.
Mohad Altrad explains: “We are convinced that Bernard Laporte is one of the best French rugby experts. In this sporting period, which is one of the most complicated that this club that I love so much has known, Bernard Laporte will have to strengthen cohesion within the collective. His support for our objectives and his passion for rugby make him the sports leader that the MHR urgently needs.”
In its press release, Montpellier specifies the new organization chart of the club: “As Director of Rugby, Bernard Laporte will be responsible for the sports strategy, working in close collaboration with the sports manager (Richard Cockerill, Editor's note) and all the staff to find a competitive and coherent team. His role will also consist of ensuring a culture of sustainable performance and re-establishing an environment conducive to the development of players.
And to add that Philippe Saint-André who had led the MHR to the title of champion of France in 2022 “keeps the confidence of Mohed Altrad and will continue to advise the general management, to take care of sovereign issues and to ensure relations with the authorities”.
At the head of the FFR until January 2023, Bernard Laporte was forced to leave his chair during his second term, pushed to resign after his two-year suspended prison sentence and 75,000 fine on December 13 2022 by the Paris criminal court, for having entered into a “corruption pact” with the same Mohed Altrad, a pact linked in particular to the sponsorship of the XV of France jersey. A decision he appealed. The boss of the MHR received an 18-month suspended prison sentence and a fine of 50,000 euros. The date of the appeal trial is not yet known.
SEE ALSO – Dimitri Payet’s superb free kick in added time during Vasco-América on November 12 (2-1)