Paris (AFP)

The "serious questioning" by the National Rugby League of the cancellation of the fine of 400,000 euros imposed on the Montpellier club for exceeding the salary cap "surprise" the Federation, assured Friday the governing body in a statement .

The day before, the appeal commission of the FFR had partially cleared the MHR, sanctioned in October by the Specialized Section "Salary Cap" of the League to pay 470,000 euros (70,000 for the failure to communicate certain elements and 400,000 to as the excess) for having exceeded the payroll ceiling during the 2017-2018 season.

The League, which made this ceiling, set at 11.3 million euros per season, his hobbyhorse, reacted deploring "the challenge to this decision of first instance", that of its Specialized Section.

A reaction that irritated the side of Marcoussis: in response, the FFR said it would seize the committee of ethics and deontology of French rugby "to call the vigilance of all instances of rugby" and that the instances "are fully respected".

The Federation believes "that disciplinary bodies have sovereign authority to impose sanctions" and insists that "the members of disciplinary bodies are appointed by the authorities of the FFR and the NRL".

These tensions between the two leading institutions of French rugby are reminiscent of those of the year 2017, when Bernard Laporte, newly elected head of the FFR, had tried to impose his views to the League, which manages the professional sector of the country. French rugby (Top 14 and Pro D2).

This new decision favorable to the MHR - already in the sight of the NRL in 2018 for exceeding the ceiling estimated between 350,000 and 400,000 euros in the 2016-2017 season, and then cleared by the DNACG (National Directorate for Assistance and Control management), the financial policeman of the NRL, then by the Appeal Commission of the FFR-based the question of the link between its owner, the businessman Mohed Altrad, and the FFR, which he became official partner .

In 2017, the MHR, which has tense relations with the League, was pinned by the NRL (fine of 70,000 euros and ground suspension) for the hostile banners deployed during the match against Racing 92. The the FFR reduced this penalty and lifted the suspension.

The JDD revelations that Laporte had intervened with Commission President Jean-Daniel Simonet to show mercy to Montpellier had triggered the "Laporte-Altrad affair".

Searches had been carried out in early 2018 in the home of Altrad and the headquarters of the FFR in Marcoussis. The survey, conducted by the National Finance Prosecutor's Office (NFP), is still ongoing.

© 2019 AFP