Calls grow for convicted racist to be dropped from France’s World Cup squad

Jared Wright
Bastien Chalureau during France's welcoming to Rueil-Malmaison where it set up its base camp for the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Bastien Chalureau during France's welcoming to Rueil-Malmaison.

France head coach Fabien Galthie has been urged to drop Bastien Chalureau from his Rugby World Cup squad just days after his call-up.

La France Insoumise (a left-wing populist political party in France) Deputy Thomas Portes has called on Galthie to make the change in a recent interview.

Chalureau was not included in France’s initial 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup but was called up following the injury withdrawal of Paul Willemse.

His call-up has been controversial due to his conviction for a racist attack in 2020.

Bastien Chalureau’s criminal conviction

In November 2020, a Toulouse criminal court handed Chalureau a six-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting two people, including former Colomiers and Agen player Yannick Larguet.

He was found guilty of “acts of violence with the circumstance of the acts committed because of the race or ethnicity of the victim.”

At the time, he was playing for Toulouse, and the club reacted swiftly by cancelling his contract.

The now Montpellier lock has always denied the nature of the attack.

“Mr. Chalureau has always recognised the violence, this fight between rugby players, but he does not admit that he can be accused of racist remarks. He does not accept it since these remarks did not exist,” his lawyer said after the judgment was played in November 2020.

Chalureau later told Actu Rugby: “It was a fight at the end of the evening, nothing more. I am extremely revolted that I am wrongly accused of racism and I do not accept being marked with the seal of the racist.”

Larguet, the victim of the acts, had to be hospitalised after one of his incisors perforated his lip while he lost four teeth and sprained his neck.

Calls for Galthie to drop Chalureau

Speaking to RMC Sport, Portes said that Chalureau should never have been called into the squad to begin with.

“The first thing is that Fabien Galthié should not have called him,” Portes said of the six-time capped lock.

“With my colleague François Piquemal, we are going to contact the Minister of Sports on Monday so that she can intervene and ask the French team not to select him.”

Portes added: “We cannot accept today to have a rugby player in the French team who has been condemned for racist acts.

“There was a conviction for a fight after a party, and it was not a trivial fight. He said racist words, and two testimonies confirmed his words. He received a suspended prison sentence. In the reasons for the conviction, it is said that this violence was committed because of ethnicity or race.”

The selection of the second-rower comes after Galthie refused to pick tighthead prop Mohamed Haouas.

Earlier this year, the front-rower was handed a one-year jail sentence after being found guilty of domestic abuse, which came shortly before he was given an 18-month suspended sentence following his involvement in a series of robberies in April 2014 and “aggravated violence”.

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