Financial investigators question French rugby boss

French Rugby Federation president and World Rugby vice-chairman Bernard Laporte has been questioned over his links with billionaire Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad.

According to reports in the French media, FFR vice-president Serge Simon; Nicolas Hourquet, the union's manager of international relations; and Claude Atcher, the director general for the organising committee of the 2023 World Cup, were also questioned by the French Financial Prosecution Office (PNF) on Tuesday.

Laporte, a former sports minister, is being investigated as part of a preliminary corruption probe opened in 2017 by the PNF following a report by sports ministry inspectors.

He is suspected of pressuring the appeals committee of the French league to reduce a disciplinary punishment against Montpellier from €70,000 to €20,000.

Laporte is also accused of favouritism after it emerged a company he owns had signed an image rights contract with the Altrad Group, which now sponsors the France national team, in early 2017.

He eventually pulled out of the €150,000 deal but the case was investigated by the French sports ministry before being passed to the public prosecutor.

Laporte, who coached France, Stade Français and Toulon, is standing for re-election as FFR president, with the results expected on 3 October.