Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Coverage of Gaza in the Israeli media

Read more

REPORTERS

1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 01 August 2014

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

Read more

#THE 51%

World War One: The war that changed women’s lives

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Ségolène Royal goes for green

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

A look back at some of the Observers' best stories

Read more

DEBATE

Argentina Defaults: Kirchner Cries Foul Over 'Vulture Funds' (part 2)

Read more

  • Hamas denies capturing Israeli soldier as Gaza truce lies in tatters

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Israel's US ambassador speaks to FRANCE 24

    Read more

  • Police 'chokehold' caused NYC death, coroner rules

    Read more

  • Air France ground workers to strike on August 2

    Read more

  • Rogue general denies Islamist seizure of Benghazi

    Read more

  • Ugandan court strikes down anti-gay legislation

    Read more

  • 1914-1918: The Depths of Hell

    Read more

  • Regional summit to tackle deadly Ebola outbreak

    Read more

  • French hospital to open wine bar for terminally ill patients

    Read more

  • Video: Tipping is dying out in French café culture

    Read more

  • €2.5 million in cocaine ‘disappears’ from Paris police HQ

    Read more

  • Appeal court keeps French rogue trader Kerviel in jail

    Read more

  • Interactive: France’s new plan to counter jihadism in Africa

    Read more

  • Ukrainian army suffers losses in separatist attack

    Read more

  • Argentinian markets plummet following default

    Read more

  • French Jews speak of growing fear in Paris amid Gaza conflict

    Read more

Bastareaud invented assault claim after drunken fall

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-26

French rugby player Mathieu Bastareaud has admitted he lied when he claimed he had been assaulted in Wellington, New Zealand on Sunday night, when in fact he had fallen over while drinking in his hotel room.

AFP - New Zealand officials reacted with outrage Friday and called for an inquiry after French rugby player Mathieu Bastareaud admitted his claim of being attacked by thugs in Wellington was a lie.

The 20-year-old said Thursday in a statement on the website of his French club Stade Francais that a cut and bruising on his face was caused by a fall in his room after drinking with team-mates early on Sunday.

Originally Bastareaud claimed he had been set upon by up to five people as he was returning to the team hotel, hours after France had lost a Test against the All Blacks.

Wellington mayor Kerry Prendergast said she was outraged over the damage done to the city's reputation and the New Zealand Rugby Union called on the French Rugby Federation to investigate the incident.

Bastareaud, who left the team on Monday and returned to France, apologised and said he had panicked and "dug himself deeper into a hole" after the incident.

"I was ashamed and panicked and I thought I would be sent packing by the team management.

"I did not want my family to be ashamed," he said.

He added he decided to tell the truth because of the big media interest in the story.

But Wellington area police commander Pete Cowan said the player had been forced to retract his story after the results of the police investigation were Thursday given to the French Rugby Federation.

"We outlined our findings, which showed Mr Bastareaud's allegations were pure fabrication and suggested Mr Bastareaud reconsider his position," Cowan told Radio New Zealand.

"Mr Bastareaud has not come out overnight and apologised out of the goodness of his heart."

The police investigation found the player had entered the team hotel on Sunday morning uninjured and had gone into his room 25 minutes later.

"Now what happened in that 25 minutes is open to a lot of speculation, now I'm not in a position to tell you, all I can tell you is Mr Bastareaud was not assaulted outside the hotel by four or five thugs," said Cowan.

Wellington mayor Prendergast said she was angry about the damage news of the alleged assault had done to the city's reputation.

"This has always had the potential of damaging our reputation not only nationally but internationally, particularly ahead of hosting the Rugby World Cup (in 2011)," Prendergast said.

"I'm outraged -- I'm sure all New Zealanders are," she said.

New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew said the union shared some of the anger felt by the mayor.

Asked about claims other members of the French team must have known Bastareaud was lying, Tew said any further inquiries were a matter for the French Rugby Federation.

"I think it's now up to the French federation to answer those questions and perhaps even to conduct a bit more of an investigation themselves."

French federation president Pierre Camou, said disciplinary action would be taken against the player.

Team manager Jo Maso also apologised, saying the team had also been lied to.

"We defended our player but unfortunately he lied to everybody," Maso told reporters in Sydney, ahead of the weekend Test against Australia.

"They, like us, were duped... We are shattered by what has happened."

All Black coach Graham Henry took a conciliatory line, saying the young player was guilty of a bad error of judgement.

"He's just a young guy making bad decisions and in this case he made a very bad decision and those things happen whether you're a Frenchman or a New Zealander or an Australian from time to time with young people.

"It's a difficult situation. I feel for the French people, the French rugby people," Henry told reporters.

Date created : 2009-06-26

COMMENT(S)