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The Associated Press

French Rugby Federation picks Martinez as interim president


PARIS (AP) — The French Rugby Federation chose Alexandre Martinez as its interim president on Friday, one week after Bernard Laporte resigned.

The 70-year-old Martinez is a former treasurer at the federation.

“I thank all the members of the (federation) executive committee for their trust. As interim president I will seek inspiration from my past as a No. 10 (flyhalf), where the notion of being open is essential,” Martinez said.

“I will deal with the current affairs with a clear objective: to reduce the division and fracture currently affecting French rugby. It’s time to come together, to unite and to support our France XV with pride.”

A Paris court in December found Laporte guilty of passive corruption, influence peddling, illegal interest taking and misuse of corporate assets.

Laporte was suspended from federation duties while he fought his suspended two-year sentence on the corruption charges. But his nominee as interim president, Patrick Buisson, was rejected by French rugby clubs in a close vote a day before he resigned.

Sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra has recommended the entire executive committee resign in order to hold new general elections.

Laporte was France coach from 1999-2007, winning the Six Nations four times. Then he coached southern club Toulon from 2011-16, winning three European Cups.


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