France lock Bastien Chalureau has been cleared of racism by a court of appeal after the Montpellier player had been handed a prison sentence for violence based on ethnicity, French media reported on Tuesday.
Chalureau was handed a six-month suspended prison sentence in 2020 after being found guilty of “acts of violence committed because of the victim’s race or ethnicity.”
The Montpellier player, who admitted to acts of violence but denied making racist comments, had appealed against that conviction.
“Bastien Chalureau’s honour has been cleared,” his lawyer David Mendel was quoted saying by Le Parisien.
“There were no racist insults in this case. Bastien Chalureau is not proud of the violence he committed, but he’s not racist.
“It’s been an ordeal that has lasted for several years… I am satisfied for this athlete who, as I speak, is training, will continue to train and progress as he has always done for several years.”
Chalureau had always insisted that he was not racist amid an outcry over his call-up into the Rugby World Cup squad last year.
“Since the first day I’ve admitted my mistakes but denied racism allegations. I am not a racist,” a tearful Chalureau had said last year.
“I wanted to come and say it out loud… because it is something that affects also my team and my family.”