Boudjellal to take IRB to court

Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal will take the IRB to court over the payment to club players on international duty.

The outspoken Boudjellal has also revealed he has the backing of his English counterparts in a saga that could have far-reaching consequences.

Bryan Habana, Bakkies Botha and Juan Fernández Lobbe were all on Rugby Championship duty when Toulon slumped to a shock 28-24 defeat to Stade Français in the Top 14. The result didn't sit well with Boudjellal, triggering his decision to order the immediate return of said players or face the consequence of not being paid.

The players ignored his request due to the Rugby Championship falling within the international window sanctioned by the IRB and Boudjellal was obliged to pay their wages.

'We are in the process of speaking to our lawyers in Paris to see if we go to the commercial or administrative court', he told French website Var Martin.

In what he calls a 'clear abuse' of power at the top, where national unions dictate at the club's expense, Boudjellal went on to say that clubs should have more influence given their increasing stature.

'The IRB rules have no provisions for the unions to pay the clubs for their internationals, yet the IRB is made up of the unions. They decide the rules while clubs have no say in the decisions on those rules. There has to be some fairness.'

The European champions' president went a step further and criticised the IRB for not evolving with the times.

'These absurd rules come from the amateur era where they didn't cause a problem because players were barely paid and the national team represented a promotion and a way of earning more money. But if we want rugby to move forward, we need to get up to date and realise it's 2014.

'I don't want to lead a revolution, just get the rules in line with today's reality.'

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP Photo

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Mariette Adams