Lacoste wins French Presidential election

Luc Lacoste, a 54 year-old businessman with little previous experience in rugby league, has been elected the new president of the French Rugby League Federation. He succeeds Marc Palanques, who did not stand for re-election.

In Saturday’s voting, Lacoste saw off the two other challengers, Fabienne Albert, secretary of the Federation under the Palanques regime, and André Janzac, a retired former regional technical adviser.

Originally from Bordeaux and a fluent English speaker who spent four years studying in London, Lacoste won by almost a landslide. From Lacoste’s list of 23 other candidates for the Federation’s management council, 22 were voted in, with only the former national technical director Patrick Pedrazzani from Janzac’s list being elected.

The former internationals Gilles Dumas, Patrick Entat, Gaël Tallec, Hugues Ratier and former Catalan Dragons winger Younès Khattabi were all elected and now form part of Lacoste’s management team.

Pedrazzani, who came second in the overall voting, will also sit on the council. No member of the outgoing administration was elected, including the key figures of Fabienne Albert and vice-president Matthieu Khedimi.

Club chairmen, who had the responsibility of casting votes on behalf of their clubs, appear to have been impressed by Lacoste’s potential to bring in new investment through his business connections, as well as an ambitious programme that underlines the need for change.

He was endorsed by Catalans’ Chairman Bernard Guasch, who introduced him to Rugby League when he was interim Chairman of the Perpignan rugby union club, and Toulouse Olympique’s Bernard Sarrazain.

Ironically, he and four other nominees had originally been declared ineligible when the committee overseeing applications declared that their Federation membership was not in order. The five were only cleared to stand when the matter was adjudicated by the National Olympic and Sporting Committee last Monday.

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