| Former Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal switching from rugby to football

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Mourad Boudjellal, the comic book publisher who steered Toulon to three European Cups, is switching from rugby to football and has agreed to become president of Sporting Toulon, owner Claude Joye said on Friday.

According to the deal, Joye will remain majority shareholder with an 82% stake. Boudjellal, who at the rugby club built a reputation for increasing revenue and making outspoken attacks on officials, media and even his own players, will buy one share.

Boudjellal, who is from the Toulon area, took over the local rugby club in 2005. He assembled a star-studded team that were champions of Europe from 2013 to 2015. He quit as president and severed all contact with the club in February.

He said he wanted a new challenge. At the time, Joye told AFP that Sporting was not for sale. He said Boudjellal was destabilising the club and had never been to a match, signalings the start of stormy negotiations.

Since then, Toulon have been relegated after a disastrous first season back in National 1, the French third tier.

On Friday, the two men met at the town hall in the presence of the mayor, Hubert Falco.

“We’ve reached an agreement, we’ll give ourselves a week to ratify the agreement,” Joye told AFP.

Joye said that despite relegation, Toulon’s budget would remain €2 million “or even increase slightly.”

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