France RL have responded to allegations made by Catalans forward Jason Baitieri, who claimed a French official made a racist comment before the nation’s game against Jamaica in October 2017.
The 30-year-old has been caught up in a well-publicised dispute with the French Rugby League Federation, after he walked out of their squad due to a “lack of professionalism” ahead of games against Western Rams and the Junior Kangaroos.
He has told French news outlets L’Independent and Treize Mondial: “I leave it to the readers to interpret the remarks made by the president before the test match against Jamaica in 2017.
“Leaving all the players present (speechless) in front of the violence of his remarks, I quote: ‘You will bring down these monkeys from their coconut tree’.”
So it’s been brought to my attention that the @FFRXIII chairman made these comments to his team before playing Jamaica in a friendly in 2017. How is this acceptable? @loverugbyleague @MartynSadler @TheRFL pic.twitter.com/riy0xefJbF
— Omari Caro (@Omaricaro) November 6, 2019
The French Rugby League Federation has denied Baitieri’s claims, claiming that President Marc Palanques will now sue him for libel and slander.
Translated from French, their statement reads “The French Rugby League Federation maintains all the elements set out in its first press release in response to the interview of Mr. Jason Baitieri published in ‘L’Indépendant’.
“It does not intend to pursue a sterile controversy and will not respond to most of the statements contained in the statement of Mr. Jason Baitieri broadcast on November 4, 2019 through several media.
“On the other hand, its President, Mr Marc Palanques can not be allowed to attribute the unacceptable racist remarks attributed to him. He never said that.
“He has already taken action with the competent police and will file a complaint of libel and slander on Tuesday, 12 November.”