Toulon boss Laporte slapped with 60 day ban

French Top 14 Rugby Club Toulon’s title ambitions have suffered a blow as their sporting director Bernard Laporte was hit with a 60-day ban by the French National Rugby League (LNR).

The former France coach was punished for comments made about the standard of refereeing after his team’s 22-22 draw against Perpignan in their Top 14 clash on March 10, as well as the previous match they won 19-6 against Montpellier.

The ban runs until May 19, meaning Laporte will be sidelined during matches for the rest of the Top 14 season. Laporte was also fined 1,500 euros (1,974 dollars), and his club 4,000 euros (5,264 dollars).

Outspoken Toulon owner and club president Mourad Boudjellal is already serving a 130-day ban after using lurid language to describe the level of refereeing in a Top 14 game against Clermont-Ferrand on January 8.

Boudjellal, whose ban runs until June 3, described the sanction against Laporte as “very severe” and said they would be appealing a punishment which could hamper their championship hopes.

“This comes down to destabilising the sporting fairness of the six remaining Top 14 games, since we’re being deprived of the brains behind the team,” said Boudjellal.

Toulon are third in the Top 14 standings 15 points behind leaders Toulouse.

Boudjellal added that the clash between Toulon and Toulouse on May 5 would take place at their Mayol Stadium and not Marseille’s Velodrome Stadium as initially planned.

“This choice was made for sporting reasons,” he said.

“The team has really entered the final phase and with the additional handicap that we’ve just received (Laporte) we’ll play against Toulouse at Mayol this season.”

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