Bernard Laporte has resigned from his role as French Rugby Federation President ©Getty Images

French Rugby Federation (FFR) President Bernard Laporte has resigned from his role more than one month after being convicted of corruption charges, with clubs rejecting his proposal for Patrick Buisson to take over on an interim basis.

Laporte "self-suspended" himself from his role as World Rugby vice-chair following the outcome of the case, and agreed to temporarily stand down from his FFR role.

He had faced calls to permanently step down, but instead put his proposal for Deputy President Buisson to become Acting President to a referendum among clubs.

The clubs voted by a 51.06 per cent majority to reject Buisson's nomination.

French Minister for Sport and the Olympic and Paralympic Games Amélie Oudéa-Castéra has now confirmed that Laporte has left his role.

It is the latest development in a scandal that has marred France's preparations for hosting the men's Rugby World Cup later this year.

Oudéa-Castéra had urged Laporte to fully withdraw from the FFR last month after he was found guilty of corruption, bribery and influence peddling by a court in Paris in a case that also involved his friend and Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad, whose construction company sponsors the French national rugby team.

Laporte continued to protest his innocence, and a two-year ban from any position in the sport is not immediately enforceable because of an expected appeal.

However, Buisson welcomed his resignation.

French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said Bernard Laporte's resignation was
French Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra said Bernard Laporte's resignation was "a good thing for French rugby" ©Getty Images

"I think it was necessary at the end of this consultation in which the clubs mobilised massively, in which the Ethics Committee played its supervisory role," she said after attending an FFR Executive Committee meeting, as reported by L'Équipe.

"Bernard Laporte drew the conclusions, which is a good thing for French rugby, for its values and for the future."

Oudéa-Castéra recommended that the Executive Committee resign from their roles to trigger new elections.

Buisson's nomination by Laporte had proved controversial, with Florian Grill - who lost narrowly in the 2020 FFR Presidential election - leading the opposition.

The FFR said that 90.46 per cent of the eligible 1,941 clubs had voted in the referendum, in which Buisson was narrowly rejected by 51.06 per cent to 48.94 per cent.

Grill told L'Équipe that the result was "not a vote against Patrick Buisson, who was probably their best candidate, it's a vote for general elections".

Laporte had led the FFR since 2016, having previously served as head coach of the French men's national team between 1999 and 2007.

He was handed a two-year suspended prison sentence and fined €75,000 (£66,000/$81,600) in the corruption case.

Florian Grill claimed clubs' rejection of Patrick Buisson as FFR Acting President was
Florian Grill claimed clubs' rejection of Patrick Buisson as FFR Acting President was "a vote for general elections" ©Getty Images

Earlier this week, he was questioned by police in relation to a separate tax fraud investigation, but released without charge.

France is due to host the Rugby World Cup from September 8 to October 28 this year.

In November last year, financial prosecutors searched the Organising Committee's headquarters as part of a Government inquiry into its management.

France 2023 chief executive Claude Atcher had been sacked one month earlier after a report outlined "deep social malaise" within the organisation.

Scandals have hit other sports in France in the build-up to next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Bruno Martini yesterday resigned as President of the Ligue Nationale de Handball after receiving a one-year suspended prison sentence for corruption of a minor and recording of child pornography images, while French Football Federation President Noël Le Graët is under investigation for sexual harassment allegations.