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the selection of Bastien Chalureau in the France team is controversial

The judicial past of Bastien Chalureau, called up to the France team for the Rugby World Cup, resurfaces. The second line was sentenced for racist violence dating back to 2020, a judgment for which he appealed. The Minister of Sports calls for respect for the presumption of innocence.

Published on: 09/03/2023 – 23:24Modified on: 09/03/2023 – 23:26

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Bastien Chalureau, called up to the France team on Friday to replace his injured club teammate Paul Willemse, is at the heart of a controversy linked to his judicial past.

The second line of Montpellier, 31, was sentenced in 2020 by the Toulouse Criminal Court to a six-month suspended prison sentence for “acts of violence with the circumstance that these were committed because of race or gender. ‘ethnicity of the victim’. He claims to have appealed against this judgment.

The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castera, estimated on Sunday that “pending the final court decision, everyone must let justice do its job calmly, respecting the presumption of innocence”.

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“The minister was able to speak with Florian Grill, president of the French rugby federation, and with Raphaël Ibanez, general manager of the Blues, who confirmed to her that an exchange had taken place on the subject between Bastien Chalureau and the staff of the XV of France”, adds a press release from the ministry sent to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

“The Minister was able to ensure on this occasion that the player, who appealed against his conviction at first instance, maintains his version of the facts and still formally denies having made racist remarks, which is why he made this appeal. “.

Asked at a press conference about this on Sunday, the captain of the Blues Antoine Dupont affirmed that the “group was not affected” by the controversy and that Bastien Chalureau had “always had an exemplary attitude, on and off the field” .

As for coach Fabien Galthié, after recalling that “racism had no place in the team”, he let go, questioned about whether the XV of France had been affected by the affair: “a World Cup is not for wimps.”

A denounced judicial past

The facts date back to the end of January 2020. Chalureau is accused by two former rugby players of having assaulted them after an evening in Toulouse.

“We were going to go down to the Jean-Jaurès car park. I heard someone shouting ‘are you okay with the bougnoules?’ I turned around and saw a big guy (…) He was constantly continuing his racist insults. I wanted to turn around and he punched me with all his might in the jaw.” had told one of them, Yannick Larguet, in the columns of the regional daily La Dépêche du Midi.

But since the MHR player was called up to the group of 33 Blues who are about to start the World Cup against New Zealand on Friday, this judicial past has been brought to the fore by several left-wing personalities. .

“The first thing would have been for Fabien Galthié not to call him to the France team. Moreover, with my colleague deputy François Piquemal (deputy La France insoumise de Haute-Garonne, editor’s note), we are going to seize the Minister of Sports tomorrow so that she intervenes and asks the France team not to select him,” said elected LFI Thomas Portes at the microphone of RMC on Sunday.

For her part, the Minister of Sports affirmed “that being selected for the France team means representing the republican values ​​of equality and fraternity, therefore behaving accordingly and in particular combating all forms of violence and discrimination. and the minister knows the attachment of the coach, the players and the Federation to these principles”.

Born near Cazères-sur-Garonne (Haute-Garonne) where he started rugby, Chalureau was playing at the time of the attack at Stade Toulousain, his training club, which he had found the previous season, after stints in Perpignan and Nevers. Following the brawl, he was laid off by Stade Toulousain and recruited by Montpellier where he confirmed the hopes placed in him during his youth, stringing together matches and winning his first title, the European Challenge, in June 2021. He became then one of the architects of the coronation in Top 14 of Montpellier in 2022 with whom he raised his first Shield of Brennus.

With AFP

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