Ex-France forward Chabal denies bending Rugby World Cup ticket rules

Former France forward Sebastien Chabal on Saturday denied any wrongdoing following a claim that he had obtained more than a hundred tickets for this year's Rugby World Cup in France.

Le Parisien newspaper said Chabal, who is one of the competition's official ambassadors, had been able to buy the tickets despite rules limiting members of the organising staff to eight per person.

"Yes, I benefited from a privileged access to buy more tickets than it is possible to do for one person, because of my status as an ambassador for France 2023," Chabal, 45, said in a statement to AFP.

"I did not get any free tickets or preferential prices. And no, I have no intention of making profits on these tickets.

"Obviously these tickets cannot be resold by those who benefit from them. It is just as unthinkable that they can be used for commercial operations," the 62-time international added.

Another former player, Henri Mioch, who won the French title on four occasions between 1977-1981, was allegedly able to buy around 600 tickets, according to Le Parisien.

The organisation of the World Cup in France has been blighted by scandal after the tournament's chief organiser Claude Atcher was sacked in October for abusing his position.

France's national financial crimes prosecutor's office is investigating possible favouritism, corruption and influence-peddling within the organisation responsible for delivering the tournament.

The purchases of the tickets by Chabal, who retired in 2014, and Mioch were discovered when investigators searched the organisers' offices in November last year.

A source close to the investigation told AFP: "Questions have been raised about the hypothesis of ticket re-selling, but nothing has been established at this stage."