Toulon owner faces action for defending homophobic remarks
Mourad Boudjellal says Mathieu Bastareaud’s remarks were ‘slip in heat of action’
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal said “faggot” has entered into common usage. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images
European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) has opened disciplinary proceedings against Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal after he defended Mathieu Bastareaud following the France international’s homophobic remarks.
Bastareaud made the comments during a 36-0 Champions Cup victory against Benetton Treviso last month before apologising on social media.
Speaking after Bastareaud was cited for calling an opponent a “f***ing faggot”, Boudjellal told the French website rugbyrama.fr that he feared the French international would face a lengthy ban due to the “Mormon side” of the EPCR. He went on to accuse the EPCR of lacking morality and double standards.
“I’m worried,” he said. “What I fear is the Mormon side of the EPCR with the Welsh and the Irish. These are people who sell morality when they do not have it. The same people who have ministers who are whipped in private but considered ‘clean’ guys in public.”
Defending Bastareaud’s comments, he added: “In my view, we’re talking about an insult that has entered common language. At no point did Mathieu Bastareaud seek to make a judgment as to the sexual orientation of the player in question. It’s like when I call someone a son of a b . . . generally I don’t know his mother.
“I’m not homophobic either, but I have called someone a faggot. It has entered into common usage, it’s what comes to mind first in a row. But we’re in an age in which morality has taken on a great importance. As if people are incapable of understanding that, and to take things into consideration . . . the only area in which humour doesn’t have a place is paedophilia. What Mathieu said was a slip in the heat of the action.”
EPCR, which had started an investigation last month, said in a statement that a hearing date would be set later.