Catalan chief defends Bousquet

Catalan CEO Christophe Jouffret has leapt to the defence of forward Julian Bousquet following the fall-out after his red card against Salford last week.

Bousquet was handed a four match-ban in midweek for the incident, which led to Reds half-back Theo Fages being knocked out and subsequently visiting hospital in France.

The club’s decision to then appeal the ban was met with criticism, by players, fans and media alike.

Jouffret said: “Comments from Super League players as well as past players and staff of the Salford club are discrediting the sport(ing) spirit which should support the legal procedure and that is inappropriate. 

“We are of course regretting the knock out sustained by Théo and I personaly tried to get some news at the end of the match from Salford’s coach Phil Veivers as well as phoning the father of Théo, Pascal Fages, later in the evening. 

“Our role as a club is to defend our player (Bousquet), who, like Théo, is young and inexperienced at this level but his attitude with our reserve grade as well as with his junior club Lezignan has always been exemplary. Julian has been sanctioned over this incident resulting in a red card as well as a four game ban.”

“This penalty is very heavy for the young French front row when compared to recent similar incidents, in which the intention was clearly more evident and which subsequently did not incur a similar sanction.

“We have informed the Super Legaue of our intention to appeal as we are sure that Julian’s contact was not intentional and that the contact of his shoulder on Théo’s head was not deliberate. 

“Our technical staff are working on the details of the incident and is working closely with our solicitor. It is now time to leave the matter in the hands of the appropriate people without constantly adding inaccurate comments.

“We wish Théo a quick recovery and want mentioned that it was the two qualified Catalans’ doctors who were responsible for managing the incident as Salford could not provide a qualified doctor. 

“Our relationship with the Salford club has always been good and we have always helped them when we can as last week end when they needed some materials help during this first match away. 

“Julian is an up and coming French player playing in the difficult front row position and our role as well as the role from all the other clubs, is to guide and support him in difficult cases. 

“I have full confidence in the RFL’s appeal process and I am sure the outcome will be consistent with previous findings.”

Jouffret has been in England since Tuesday, when he attended a Super League meeting, with the Dragons taking on Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium in Friday’s televised match.


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