EPCR Come Down Hard On Toulon Owner After Comments About Ireland & Wales

Significant sanction.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) today released it’s decision following a misconduct complaint and hearing against controversial Toulon President Mourad Boudjellal for comments claiming a lack of morality in Wales and Ireland.

Outspoken Boudjellal astonishingly claimed to fear “the Mormon side of the EPCR” disciplinary process, singling out the Welsh and Irish in particular as “people who sell morality when they do not have it.”

The comments were in defence of Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud’s using an alleged homophobic slur in the Champions Cup fixture against Benetton. The French international later received a three week ban for calling flanker Sebastian Negri a ‘f*****g f****t’.

The independent Disciplinary Committee upheld the complaints against Boudjellal and RC Toulon in their entirety, ruling that his comments discriminated against and insulted a number of different groups and that they brought the game of rugby into disrepute.

The independent Disciplinary Committee considered the misconduct to have been very serious and determined that both Boudjellal and RC Toulon should receive a significant sanction. The Committee also concluded that there were several aggravating factors, including poor disciplinary records and poor conduct during the disciplinary process, and that these increased the severity of the sanctions imposed.

That poor conduct included ignoring directions made by the independent Disciplinary Committee and responding derisively to requests from the Committee for information.

To reflect the seriousness of the misconduct, the independent Disciplinary Committee determined that:

(a) Boudjellal be fined €75,000 (payable immediately), with a further €25,000 fine suspended for three years for any similar offending or misconduct by Boudjellal in any rugby jurisdiction.

(b) RC Toulon be subject to a deduction of five match points when competing in EPCR tournaments, suspended for three seasons for any similar offending or misconduct by the club or any of its representatives in any rugby jurisdiction.

The independent Disciplinary Committee stated in its written decision that: ”

We had a responsibility to pass a sanction which properly marks rugby’s disapproval of the use, or condoning of the use, of any remark which is discriminatory or insulting. Such remarks only undermine the confidence and the desire of the majority of those involved in rugby to promote an entirely inclusive and diverse game … We considered this case to be a very serious example of offending of this type.”

Boudjellal and RC Toulon, who both chose not to attend the hearing, have also been ordered to pay EPCR’s costs.