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Toulon has officially changed hands

RugbyPass logo RugbyPass 6 days ago Ian Cameron
Juan Smith, Bakkies Botha are posing for a picture: Toulon has officially changed hands © Getty Images Toulon has officially changed hands

Controversial rugby magnate Mourad Boudjellal has officially sold his majority share in RC Toulon.

Reports from France over the weekend suggested that Boudjellal was set to sell his shares to Bernard LeMaitre – a pharmaceutical multi-millionaire, and it has been confirmed today.

LeMaitre already owned 44 per cent of the famous club, and the sale of Boudjellal’s controlling share means has become Toulon’s effective owner.

LeMaitre made his money with LeMaitre Vascular and his personal wealth is estimated at close to €200 million ($AU325 million).

“The Top 14 requires significant financial capital, especially to provide our club with high-level sports infrastructure,” explained Boudjellal at a press conference in France today.

“I am pleased that Bernard Lemaitre’s collaboration allows us to compare ourselves to the best clubs in Europe.”

Boudjellal’s time with Toulon has been marked by both controversy and success in equal measure. The club won three European Champions Cups and a Top 14 in 2014, but his outbursts have frequently made headlines.

His treatment of All Black Julian Savea last season was widely condemned by players past and present.

Savea’s bumper salary – believed to be a million euros ($AU1.6 million) per season – was a trigger for Boudjellal who believed he wasn’t getting a return ‘at that rate’.

“At one point, it was him or me! Quit paying someone as much … especially at that rate.

“I may have been too harsh with him, but I am someone excessive and whole. I never shower with lukewarm water,” Boudjellal told Midi Olympique in May.

Toulon’s disastrous season saw the club fail to get out of the pool stages of the European Champions Cup for the first time, with losing to the bottom-placed Premiership club Newcastle Falcons at home a low point. They finished 10th place in the Top 14 with their worst placing since they were promoted.

“The RCT has never been so poorly ranked in the Top 14 since I was president! I would love to remake the Toulon Laporte years with, at least, one final per year. I’m working on it, by the way,” he said.

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