Rugby-World Rugby concerned by France 2023 organising committee workplace allegations

(Reuters) - World Rugby said on Thursday it was concerned by reports of allegations that the leaders of the France 2023 World Cup organising committee created a toxic environment in which staff were verbally abused and overworked.

French newspaper L'Equipe said it spoke to employees of the Groupement d'Interet Public (GIP) France 2023 who worked at the Paris headquarters and they described a culture of fear and "management by terror".

At the centre of the allegations were France's 2023 Rugby World Cup chief Claude Atcher and his chief of staff Marie Houzot.

Reuters has contacted the French Rugby Federation (FFR) for comment.

"World Rugby is concerned by media reports in relation to alleged working conditions within the France 2023 organising committee," the sport's governing body said in a statement.

"The wellbeing of the rugby family is paramount and World Rugby has formally raised the allegations with the board of the France 2023 organising committee and the FFR.

"We note that the matter is being considered by the France 2023 Ethics Committee and we welcome the French Sports Ministry's call for a comprehensive investigation to be undertaken by the labour office."

The World Cup will be played in France for the second time from Sept. 8 next year. The country also hosted the tournament in 2007.

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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