Cheika hits back at Boudjellal for Cooper threats

Australian head coach Michael Cheika has hit back at Toulon club owner Mourad
Boudjellal who said that he will make Quade Cooper almos as poor as Greece if he
fails to honour his contract.

Cooper visited Toulon earlier this year when he was injured during the Super
rugby season and signed a contract to play for the French champion side later
this year.

The Wallabies and Reds playmaker now appears to want to backtrack on the contract
and remain in Australia with reports suggesting he has been offered a new four
year deal.

In recent days Boudjellal threatened in French newpaper to take legal action
against Cooper if he fails to honour the contract.

“It could make him alone the second most indebted State after Greece (laughs)!”
Boudjellal told Midi Olympique adding that he would be in his rights
to pursue Cooper for the entire value of his two year contract which is understood
to be worth up to $A2 million.

On returning from Argentina Cheika said Boudjellal’s comments were not necessary
and inappropriate given the difficulties that people in Greece are going through.

“I don’t think it is an issue to be joked about to be honest, there are a lot
of people struggling over there,” Cheika told the Daily Telegraph.

“I don’t think it is that funny, that type of stuff. He is entitled
to say what he likes, and do what he wants to do. But I don’t know if
those analogies are necessary.”

“I understand why he wants to fight for the player, because he’s
a really good player. He is doing his bit and I have nothing against him for
fighting for the player. That’s his right. Just like we want to fight
for our players.”

There have been reports that Cooper might be able to pay a fee of $230,000
to be released from his contract but Boudjellal said that this was an escape
fee for a preliminary “promise contract” only – not the full contract.

“The moron of the Australian federation who does not know his file needs
to know that the promise of employment is no longer the question,” Boudjellal
told the paper.

“Euro150 000 ($A228,000) was to pay for the release of promise of contract,
but Cooper has signed his contract, I can produce it if necessary, and received
it the League. The contract promise is now obsolete. At the present time, if
Cooper withdraws, it will have to pay the amount of the contract!”

Boudjellal says that if Cooper does not honour his contract with Toulon he
will “have more need of money than words” and last week he said
that he could realistically seek “millions” in compensation as the
contract is worth up to $A2 million.

“He signed a promise of hiring in the vicinity of the end of April, a
month and a half after he signed the contract: so he had time to think before
committing,” Boudjellal said.

The newspaper also reported that Cooper’s agent Khoder Nasser had been
in recent talks with Boudjellal.

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