(Reuters) - Bernard Laporte has been re-elected as president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) for another four years after narrowly beating opposing candidate Florian Grill, the country’s governing body said on Saturday.
The FFR said Laporte won 51.47% of the vote compared to 48.53% for Grill after over 95% of the clubs registered their vote.
With a mandate until 2024, the former France head coach will be president when the country hosts the next Rugby World Cup in 2023.
“Thank you to all amateur clubs for confirming their confidence in me for the next four years,” Laporte wrote on Twitter.
“I will be the president of all clubs. Together for a great World Cup.”
Laporte’s win will ensure Fabien Galthie stays on as France head coach after he had previously said he would reconsider his own future if Laporte was not re-elected.
Galthie led France to the top of the Six Nations standings earlier this year with famous wins over England and Wales, and the team has a slim chance of winning the title for the first time in 10 years when the tournament resumes later this month.
Victory capped a turbulent few weeks for 56-year-old Laporte, who had been held for questioning over his ties with Montpellier owner Mohamed Altrad amid an investigation into influence-peddling and illegal acquiring of assets.
The preliminary probe focused on suspicions that Laporte pressured the French League’s appeal committee into softening a sanction against Top 14 team Montpellier, as a company he owns signed an image rights deal with the Altrad Group in 2017.
Laporte had labelled the allegations as a “coordinated campaign of destabilisation” ahead of the election and broke down in tears at a news conference after he was released from police custody last month.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge
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