And this is why Toulon and Bristol will have to play a European Challenge Cup final on the small second division pitch of Aix-en-Provence, behind closed doors, in a Covid quarantined zone, instead of a few kilometers away from it (Avignon, Narbonne, Nimes...) where 5,000 spêctators would have been allowed.Boudjellal case: EPCR sentenced on appeal for defamation
By Arnaud Beurdeley via Midi Olympique
1 hour ago
In the defamation lawsuit between Mourad Boudjellal and the EPCR, the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal has confirmed the conviction of the body governing European competitions and its managing director Vincent Gaillard.
Last February, Mourad Boudjellal had won a first round. In his libel suit against the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), the body governing European competitions was fined 10,000 euros. Its managing director Vincent Gaillard was fined 5,000 euros, with a suspended sentence. The EPCR and Vincent Gaillard were also ordered to pay 30,000 euros to Mourad Boudjellal and 10,000 euros to the RCT for moral damages. They had appealed. On Tuesday, the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal once again ordered the EPCR and Vincent Gaillard, for defamation, to pay 10,000 euros to Mourad Boudjellal as damages to compensate for his moral prejudice. The EPCR and its director Vincent Gaillard were also sentenced to two fines of 3,000 and 1,500 euros each, as the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal did not accept the "good faith" of both parties.
In addition, a final suspended fine of 5,000 euros was pronounced in the judgment of which Rugbyrama was aware. The RCT's civil party status was also recognised. "The real justice has recognized that the EPCR had defamed me," Mourad Boudjellal reacted on Wednesday, the day after the ruling. "Justice has confirmed not only that what I said was not homophobic, but above all that the EPCR had no legitimacy to judge me on this," he continued. Clearly EPCR wanted to put a line on my disciplinary record. In the end, we're moving towards a line on the criminal record of Vincent Gaillard and the EPCR".
In July 2018, EPCR had qualified the behaviour of the President of Toulon as "homophobic". Mourad Boudjellal was fined 75,000 euros by the EPCR Disciplinary Commission for "inappropriate conduct". After a match between RCT and Treviso, Mourad Boudjellal had expressed concern that Mathieu Bastareaud was cited for a homophobic insult against an Italian player: "I fear the Mormon side of the EPCR, with the Welsh and the Irish," he said. I just said that when Bastareaud says "faggot", it's a reflex insult, not homophobic," Mourad Boudjellal explained two years later. That's the way I see it. Not that of the EPCR. But they were not competent to judge me on that."
Finally, the EPCR has not finished with Mourad Boudjellal, since another complaint filed by the latter is still under investigation, in the case of the fake SMS allegedly sent by the former President of the RCT to an EPCR leader...
The Provence-Aix club itself is currently playing its home games away. But the EPCR doesn't mind...