Rugby

Boudjellal decides NOT to sell Toulon

2016-12-21 15:01
Mourad Boudjellal (Getty Images)

Toulon - Colourful comics publisher Mourad Boudjellal announced on Wednesday that he has decided not to sell French Top 14 outfit Toulon.

The outspoken 56-year-old had said in September he was looking at selling the three-time European champions.

"I've decided not to continue with the project to sell Toulon," Boudjellal told reporters.

"I took the decision to stay last weekend."

In October, film producer Gerard Barba and lawyer Lucien Simon had been in advanced talks over a possible 10 million acquisition.

When announcing his desire to sell the club in September, Boudjellal had complained about heavy criticism of his tenure.

He said he wanted "another life" and wondered why he put up with taking "hits every week".

But now he claims to be as committed as ever to the club of his heart.

"I will try to continue this adventure, the project is closed and I hope to be vindicated by people of Toulon," said Boudjellal, who thanked former coach Bernard Laporte, now the French federation president, and Toulon mayor Hubert Falco for their help and encouragement.

Boudjellal also vowed to give some of his shares to fans and sponsors in a move that is common in Spanish sports clubs aimed at encouraging supporter involvement in the club.

"I'll give away my shares to members and partners, I'm not going to raise funds. I'm not here to mount a financial operation," added Boudjellal.

The larger than life Boudjellal has been almost as present in newspaper columns and television reports as his team following some outrageous comments.

In 2012 he was given a 130-day ban by the French League after describing a defeat to Clermont as "sodomy".

He has presided over the most successful period in Toulon's history since buying the club in 2007, winning the second division title in his first season.

They won the European title three years in a row from 2013-2015, claimed French Top 14 honours in 2014 and also lost two Top 14 and two European Challenge Cup finals in that period.

Their success was built upon a policy of high-profile acquisitions including former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, England legend Jonny Wilkinson, former Australia back-row forward George Smith, South Africans Bakkies Botha, Victor Matfield and Bryan Habana, and New Zealand internationals Sonny Bill Williams, Ma'a Nonu and Ali Williams.

Read more on:    toulon  |  mourad boudjellal  |  rugby
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