the French Rugby Federation knew the risk of overtaking

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Bernard Laporte, president of the French Rugby Federation (right) and Serge Simon, vice-president, in December 2016.
Bernard Laporte, president of the French Rugby Federation (right) and Serge Simon, vice-president, in December 2016. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

For a week, the leadership of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) supports ingenuity. He declares that he only identified in November, at the end of the annual accounts, the exceeding of the ceiling set by the law for the remuneration paid during the 2017-2018 season to the vice-president, Serge Simon. The general treasurer, Alexandre Martinez, rejected this "Really stupid mistake" in the Human Resources department (Human Resources). Also reflection of Mr. Simon: the number two of the "federation" has regretted, in an interview with Agence France-Presse, a simple "Service error".

The world he became aware of elements that contradict this version and expose the responsibilities of management. By various means, it had already been alerted, in effect, to the obligation to respect the authorized ceiling for a nonprofit public association – the official status of the FFR, one of the most important organizations. country sports, by a decree of 1922.

The first warning arrives already in December 2016. Only a week after the election of Bernard Laporte as president of the FFR, the new federal team seeks the opinion of the lawyers. It is about knowing the maximum amount of compensation for the three elected officials, as well as the tax consequences in case of exceeding.

More warnings

The legal clarity provided is simple: for each of the three managers, the remuneration can reach a maximum of three times the social security ceiling – the concept of remuneration that covers both wages, taxes, but also benefits in kind, according to the general tax code. With this precision: any defect could call into question the "disinterest" of the management of the FFR, and therefore its tax exemptions.

These elements are communicated before December 14th 2016, the date of the meeting of the first FFR executive committee after the Laporte election. On that day, in Marcoussis (Essonne), in the federal office, the management voted to pay the principle of remuneration of three elected: MM. Simon and Martinez, as well as Christian Dullin, general secretary. But if the company cars loaned to Alexandre Martinez and Christian Dullin look good in their paychecks, this is not the case with the vehicle assigned to Serge Simon.

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