Racing 92 to take legal action against Johan Goosen

French club allege ‘blatant fraud’ after South Africa centre’s decision to quit club mid-season

Johan Goosen of Racing 92 is tackled by Daniel Vermeulen and Jonathan Pelissie of Toulon during the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final  at Stade Yves Du Manoir in  April 2016. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Johan Goosen of Racing 92 is tackled by Daniel Vermeulen and Jonathan Pelissie of Toulon during the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Yves Du Manoir in April 2016. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

 

Racing 92 are launching civil and criminal actions against the South Africa centre Johan Goosen, claiming breach of contract after the 24-year-old left Paris last month saying he was retiring from the game and was returning home to take up a job as a commercial director.

The French champions issued a strongly worded statement saying that they found it inconceivable that a player would end his playing career while at his peak. There have been reports in France that if the Montpellier owner, Mohed Altrad, who has made his fortune in scaffolding, succeeds in taking over Gloucester he will look to sign the 13-cap Goosen, who would not be able to join another French club for 18 months as Racing hold his registration to play in the Top14.

Racing said in a statement that Goosen, who was named the French league’s best player of the year last season, was still employed by the club. “He remains bound to the club by a contract lasting four years,” the club said. “His residence, company car, locker and place in the dressing room all remain at his disposal.

“In response to his behaviour Racing92 is forced to initiate several legal proceedings aimed at enforcing its rights and redressing the harm done to the club. Racing92 believes that the club is a victim of blatant fraud which Johan Goosen, his associates and various advisers must answer for in court.”

The club said that various civil proceedings would be taken out to recoup advance image rights payments and compensation for not fulfilling his contract - Goosen has not been deregistered for the European Champions Cup – and a complaint would be lodged with the French industrial tribunal seeking compensation for “significant damage to the club”.

Racing’s statement concluded: “A criminal complaint will also be filed, as the open-ended employment contract produced by Johan Goosen and signed by one of his friends and business associates appears to constitute a phoney document, given that it is not conceivable that a player puts an end to his sporting career while at its peak and accepts a position in a South African company for a salary 10 times less than what he was earning as a rugby player at Racing92 (around €480,000 a year).

“Full light must be shed on the responsibility of the various people who advised Johan Goosen in taking this aberrant and fraudulent strategy, and to this extent, there are grounds for wondering how Johan Goosen is being supported financially given the numerous commitments and investments he has to meet.“

It is the second strongly worded statement issued by Racing this season after the club rounded on various sections of the media after the appearance of players, including the former New Zealand outhalf Dan Carter, before a panel following a drugs test last year.

(Guardian service)

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