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Montpellier's French Top 14 salary cap fine revoked

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Paris (AFP)

French Top 14 club Montpellier have had their 400,000 euro ($442,511) fine for salary cap infringements removed by the French Rugby Federation's appeals commission, according to documents seen by AFP on Thursday.

However the commission increased a previous 50,000 euro fine handed down by the National Rugby League (LNR) to 100,000 euros for "breaches of transparency obligations".

Montpellier were originally fined for exceeding the cap, at 11.3 million euros, by paying players an additional 428,000 euros during the 2017-18 season when they finished second.

The salaries that had attracted suspicion included those of South African brothers Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis for that season.

A furious Montpellier club president Mohed Altrad told AFP in early October they were victims of a "Stalinist system" where the league sets the players' prices.

Altrad is currently running in the Montpellier municipal elections where he could emerge as mayor in March 2020.

A year ago the club were also cleared by the federation when they were accused of violating the cap in the 2016-17 season.

On Monday, English side Saracens were docked 35 points and fined £5 million ($6.47 million) by Premiership Rugby for breaching domestic salary cap rules over the past three seasons.

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