Cavalier Laporte rapped by French sports minister

17th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 October 2007, PARIS (AFP) - French sports minister Roseline Bachelot on Tuesday called to order her future junior minister, national rugby coach Bernard Laporte, for his cavalier attitude after he said he would leave his new job if he didn't like it.

17 October 2007

PARIS (AFP) - French sports minister Roseline Bachelot on Tuesday called to order her future junior minister, national rugby coach Bernard Laporte, for his cavalier attitude after he said he would leave his new job if he didn't like it.

Bachelot said 43-year-old Laporte's new job is a public service and not a question of personal pleasure.

"To be secretary of state, isn't a question of personal pleasure. We fulfill a function, we don't do this for pleasure, we fulfill this function for the good of the French people," Bachelot said on French national radio.

Laporte had said of the job he starts on Monday: "I have a new job; if I like it, I'll stay, if I don't, I'll go.

"I have always had this freedom, and all the better.

"I will start with a lot of conviction, a lot of enthusiasm because I believe that people who have appointed me have made a lot of effort as well."

Laporte has ended the rugby World Cup in the same controversial style he began after France's shock opening loss to Argentina and his use of a letter by a communist resistance fighter during World War II as a motivational device which outraged the local Communist party.

The French coach later offended New Zealand and England after comments about doping in sport with French team manager Jo Maso forced to clarify his remarks by saying the French coach had no suspicions of those nations.

His commerical interests, including investments in casinos, have also put Laporte in hot water and he has been told he will have to sell some of them before taking up his ministerial duties.

Laporte, a friend of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, was nominated on June 19 as the secretary of state for sport, to start after the rugby World Cup, the final of which will be held Saturday.

He will finish his coaching duties after the third place playoff on Friday after taking France to the dizzy heights of defeating the All Blacks in the quarter-final only to crash out in the semi-final 14-9 to England in a repeat of 2003 World Cup semi-final.

"I will never coach again, that is a definite," Laporte said.

"And yet, I am one of those people who say you should never say never, but in this case I say never because I feel like doing other things.

"Rugby, that's been 35 years of my life, as a player and coach. It's been a great experience but I feel like a new challenge".

Laporte was first a player as scrum-half and French champion with Begles in 1991. He coached Bordeaux-Begles between 1993-1995 and Stade Francais from 1995-1999 before taking over the national side in December 1999, claiming two Grand Slams and has overall record of 62 wins in 96 matches.

AFP

Subject: French news

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