On November 14, 2023, before the Toulouse Court of Appeal, the Advocate General requested an eight-month suspended prison sentence against Bastien Chalureau, player of the French rugby team tried on appeal for a racist attack against two men, in 2020 in Toulouse.

The second row of Montpellier Hérault Rugby (MHR) was finally sentenced, Tuesday, January 16, to six months in prison. At first instance, the rugby player was sentenced to the same sentence, but the court considered that the violence, committed on the night of January 31, 2020 in the center of Toulouse, had indeed been committed “because of race or the victim’s ethnicity.” The 31-year-old rugby player notably denied having said “Are you alright? ”, as the plaintiffs claimed. In the verdict handed down on Tuesday, the racist nature of the attack was ultimately not accepted.

“Bastien Chalureau is not proud of the violence he committed but he is not a racist,” his lawyer, Me David Mendel, told the press, “extremely satisfied” to see “that the file was respected and that Bastien Chalureau was acquitted of this infamous aggravating circumstance with which he was accused. “Today, I am satisfied for this athlete who as I speak is in training, will continue to train and will continue to progress as he has always done for several years,” added Mr. Mendel.

The player no longer drinks or goes out at night

During the appeal trial, the attorney general asked him if he had apologized to his victims. “No,” the rugby player replied. Since then, according to him, he has changed his life, no longer drinks or goes out at night, and this has allowed his career to take off, he assures. In his submissions, the Advocate General had requested a heavier sentence than at first instance: “The facts are established”, the complainants “evoked undeniably racist remarks”, he asserted, considering that the consumption of alcohol had probably “disinhibited” the defendant.

Bastien Chalureau’s lawyer considered that the first instance judgment – retaining the aggravating circumstance of the racist nature of the athlete’s comments – was “infamous”. Among the documents included in the file, a letter from his captain and teammate within the MHR Yacouba Camara, clearing Chalureau of any racist tendencies.

According to Me Laurent Sabounji, lawyer for the two plaintiffs, if the defendant and his two victims came to blows, it was following an exchange of words in a bar, earlier in the evening. “It’s not a fight. This is gratuitous aggression. It all started with a blow from behind to one of my clients,” recalled Mr. Sabounji.

As the Rugby World Cup approached, the affair resurfaced in the media, leading the Head of State to speak out on the subject. Mr. Macron then declared that, in the event of the judgment being confirmed on appeal, it “would be preferable” for him to no longer wear the France team jersey.

During the World Cup, Bastien Chalureau only played half an hour against Uruguay. He was called up to the France group on September 1 to compensate for Paul Willemse’s injury.