Toulon pay up to keep Top 14 status

French giants Toulon have increased their capital to ensure the club remains in the Top 14 next season.

Speculation was rife that Toulon could be relegated to the ProD2, the French second division, because of a €2-million debt, of which €1.7-million was a fine stemming from a court ruling for breach of contract with former sponsor Puma.

The threat of relegation came after the National Directorate of Control and Assistance is reported to have raised the alarm about discrepancies in Toulon's books.

The DNACG, which acts as the administrator that monitors the finances of French rugby clubs, gave the club owners until 30 June to explain themselves and pay the money or face the consequence of demotion to the second division.

But on Tuesday, the club announced it would release new capital to cover the €2-million debt to allow the team 'to keep its place in the elite of French rugby'.

It is believed that outspoken club president, Mourad Boudjellal, will cover a large share of the cost.

Boudjellal was already the majority shareholder with 51% of shares, with the remaining 49% held by the Association of Toulon Rugby Club. But his bailout of the latest financial saga will ensure that Boudjellal holds 93% of the club's shares and the Association only 7%.

Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

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Mariette Adams