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Dublin: 12°C Monday 23 November 2020

Toulon president cancels rugby friendly after Beziers vote National Front

Mourad Boudjellal has more than Leinster on his mind this week.

Mourad Boudjellal (right) after signing Bryan Habana.
Mourad Boudjellal (right) after signing Bryan Habana.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS TOULON have cancelled a July friendly with former French rugby giants Beziers as club president Mourad Boudjellal is opposed to the politics of the newly elected mayor Robert Menard, who represents the far-right Front National party  (FN).

Boudjellal, who is a comic book mogul, said he had lived under a FN mayor in Toulon during the 1990’s and he had not liked the results.

“After this election I can confirm that we will not be going (to Beziers),” he told AFP.

Boudjellal, who has poured millions into financing big-money signings for the club such as England World Cup winning fly-half Jonny Wilkinson, was echoing what he told regional newspaper Midi Libre last Thursday after the first round of voting when Menard led.

“I know only too well what the National Front cost the town (Toulon which they ran from 1995 to 2001).

“Its management was so bad that it had to be put into administration for several years.

“And also I do not share the values of the party.

“When I sign a player, I don’t look to see whether he is white or black, a foreigner or not, but whether he is a good or bad player.”I have a multi-racial team. So to shake the hand of a National Front mayor…”

Boudjellal had proposed the friendly with 11-time French champions Beziers, who are struggling in 11th place of Pro Div 2, so that they could also keep all the gate money.

The FN took the mayorship in at least 11 towns and won over 1,400 seats on municipal councils in Sunday’s polls.

- © AFP, 2014

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