There’s Been Yet Another Twist In The Strange Johan Goosen Retirement Saga
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The Johan Goosen saga is far from over.
South African playmaker Johan Goosen announced his shock retirement from rugby last month much to the confusion of the rugby world and more importantly his club, French giants Racing 92.
Last year’s Top 14 player of the year is just 23 years of his age, with the announcement leaving many people scratching their heads. It came out of nowhere, with Racing coach Ronan O’Gara admitting that the first he had heard of it was on twitter.
At the time, Goosen announced that he was returning to his native South Africa to take up a role as Commercial Director. Club president, Jacky Lorenzetti, released the following statement at the time:
He has announced today that he has taken the incredible decision to end his playing career, to return to South Africa for a role as commercial director.
We regret that such a talented player has gone astray and has decided to abandon professional rugby. It seems obvious that such a role has proven incompatible with high level sport.
It then emerged that Goosen was a target for Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad. Under LNR rules the utility back would not be able to play for another French club following his retirement announcement, but this is where things got interesting.
Altrad is currently in talks to takeover Premiership side Gloucester and has reportedly lined up Goosen to play with the English side, and not Montpellier.
Events have taken a further turn today, as Racing have now released a statement on their website stating that they are issuing legal proceedings against Goosen. Racing claim the player has not shown up to work in the past couple of days, and appears to have fled his French home.
Racing believe they are the victims of blatant fraud, and it’s easy to see why.
Here’s the statement in full:
Racing 92 regrets to announce that Johan Goosen has not appeared at the club for the last two days and seems to have vacated his residence at Le Plessis-Robinson.
As far as Racing 92 is concerned, Johan Goosen still remains bound to the club by an employment contract lasting four years, while his residence, company car, locker, and place in the locker-room all remain at his disposal. To this effect, Johan Goosen remains on the list of players qualified by the EPCR to play in the Champions Cup, starting with the match between Racing 92 and Munster this Saturday.
In response to Johan Goosen’s behaviour, Racing 92 is forced to initiate several legal proceedings aimed at enforcing its rights and redressing the harm done to the club. Racing 92 believes that the club is a victim of blatant fraud which Johan Goosen, his associates and various advisers must answer for in court.
Various civil proceedings will be taken out, partly to obtain reimbursement of the advance payments made to Johan Goosen with regard to his image rights, and also to obtain compensation for the non-provision of services to which he had committed in this domain.
A complaint will also be laid with the French Industrial Tribunal in order to prosecute the player’s fraudulent and wrongful failure to fulfil his contractual obligations and to compensate the resulting significant damage for the club.
A criminal complaint will also be filed, as the open-ended employment contract produced by Johan Goosen and signed by one of his friends and business associates appears to constitute a phony document, given that it is not conceivable that a player put an end to his sporting career while at the peak of such career, and accept a position in a South African company for a salary ten times less than what he was earning as a rugby player at Racing 92.
Full light must be shed on the responsibility of the various people who advised Johan Goosen in taking this aberrant and fraudulent strategy, and to this extent, there are grounds for wondering how Johan Goosen is being supported financially given the numerous commitments and investments he has to meet.
This one if far from over.