With the Rugby World Cup just a year away, one of the tournament’s top bosses has had his contract terminated with immediate effect.
Claude Atcher was the CEO of the France 2023 tournament, before being suspended back in August. Since then a French Labour investigation has concluded that he was running a program that saw bullying in the workplace. This caused severe burnout within the staff with reports of employees suffering panic attacks due to the stress.
His initial suspension came about after French news publication, L’Equipe, revealed 15 first-hand allegations by employees, including one where the former CEO told one female employee “you’re a dirty little idiot”.
Le rapport de l’Inspection du travail confirmant celui du Comité d’éthique, la mise à pied conservatoire de Claude Atcher s’est convertie en destitution. La sanction a été prononcée lundi soir à l’issue d’un vote du conseil d’administration du GIP. https://t.co/pYzQJtEy2Z pic.twitter.com/Zhaz24NTMF
— L’ÉQUIPE (@lequipe) October 11, 2022
Described as a “climate of terror”, the French government intervened quickly after finding “alarming managerial practices” during their investigation.
At the time of his suspension, World Rugby released a statement that read, “World Rugby was deeply concerned by the allegations made through the French media.
“The wellbeing of the rugby family is paramount and central to the values of unity, inclusivity and fun that epitomise Rugby World Cup, the sport’s ultimate celebration of togetherness.”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 11, 2022
Following the conclusion of Atcher’s sacking a statement has been issued on behalf of France 2023’s Organising Committee:
“The France 2023 organising committee’s board of directors met in an extraordinary session on Monday, October 10. Its president Jacques Rivoal shared with the board the conclusions from the French Labour Inspectorate investigation, which was launched after an article published on June 22 mentioned the social climate within the organising committee and the management of its CEO, Claude Atcher.
“The report brought forward by the French Labour Inspectorate corroborates and complements the report produced by the France 2023 ethics committee, submitted at the end of August and reviewed on September 2 by the France 2023 board of directors.