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THE FRENCH RUGBY Federation (FFR) was ordered by an industrial tribunal on Monday to pay €1 million in compensation to sacked national coach Guy Noves.
Noves, who had sought €2.9 million in damages, became the first France coach ever to be sacked, in December 2017, after a meagre seven wins from 22 matches alongside 14 defeats and a humiliating home draw with 2019 World Cup hosts Japan.
Under Noves, France lost six consecutive games between June and November 2017, a string of results that federation chief Bernard Laporte deemed unacceptable.
Noves, who had been appointed by Laporte’s predecessor Pierre Camou, was replaced by former Italy coach Jacques Brunel in time for the 2018 Six Nations.
The industrial tribunal in the southwestern city of Toulouse ruled that there had been an ‘abusive early termination of (Noves’) employment contract without serious misconduct’.
The tribunal added that it did not accept that there had been ‘moral harassment’, but noted the harm done to Noves’ reputation.
Noves, 65, was capped seven times by France as a winger and followed up a 12-year playing career with Toulouse by becoming assistant coach and then head coach of the Top 14 giants between 1993-2015.
Under Noves, Toulouse won four European Cups and nine domestic titles, a startling coaching record he was unable to mirror with France.
“It’s been 15 months we’ve been working on this,” said Noves. “We were hoping for this result and for the moment we’re happy.
“When we turned to the industrial tribunal, it was to clean the honour of a person.
“I was accused of serious misconduct and the tribunal was very clear on that subject: there wasn’t serious misconduct.”
Despite a disappointing Six Nations campaign this season in which France lost three of their five matches, the federation has told Brunel he can remain in his role until the end of the World Cup.
© – AFP, 2019
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