Enraged Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has threatened to sue the Australian Rugby Union for “millions of euros” if Quade Cooper backflips on his big-money contract with the French club.
Cooper had been set to join Toulon after the World Cup, but reports this week indicate the Wallabies and Reds five-eighth has opted to stay in the country on a four-year deal with the aim of leading the Australian Sevens team’s charge to the Rio Olympics.
In a dramatic tirade on French radio, Boudjellal accused the ARU of playing dirty for continuing to negotiate with Cooper after he had already committed to Toulon.
“They are speaking to a player who they know has signed,” Boudjellal told Sud Radio.
“So there is collusion there and I might sue the Australian federation to ensure our rights are respected.”
It was expected Cooper would have to pay the six-figure release fee from his own pocket given the ARU’s previous reticence towards players who renege on deals.
But Boudjellal was adamant the 27-year-old had already signed a contract with them and if he did not honour the deal he’d be willing to pursue Australia’s governing body for far more.
“If Cooper doesn’t come, the compensation will be in millions of euros,” he said.
“He was our first choice. The damage to our image is significant.
“He took a photo with us, we centred our season ticket campaign around him, his jersey is on sale.
“What’s more, we passed on other fly-halves to get him.”
Cooper, who is currently in Argentina with the Wallabies, will reportedly devote all of next year to the Australian sevens program before returning to Super Rugby in 2017 – most likely with the Reds.