The national financial crimes prosecutor’s office announced they were investigating possible favouritism, corruption and influence-peddling under the former chief executive of the organising committee, Claude Atcher, who was sacked last month.
France is hosting the men’s rugby World Cup in 2023 – matches take place in nine venues across the country from September 8th.
Atcher was sacked last month after an internal investigation reported “alarming managerial practices” amid allegations of bullying and harassment from staff.
The national financial crimes prosecutor’s office confirmed on Wednesday for the first time that it had opened an investigation into possible favouritism, corruption and influence-peddling.
The probe followed a referral from auditors at the finance and sports ministries, the prosecutor’s office said in a statement that confirmed raids were underway at different locations.
France’s L’Equipe newspaper said investigators were looking into the misuse of personal expenses, “certain contracts in the past and also alleged irregularities linked to the ticketing system for the 2023 World Cup.”
Atcher’s deputy Julien Collette took over from him as chief executive.
The Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 8th next year with hosts France playing New Zealand at the Stade de France. The final is scheduled for Saturday, October 28th.
The dysfunctions in the World Cup organising committee are an unwelcome embarrassment for France as it prepares to host the Olympics in 2024.