Select tour: 

France rugby team signs shirt sponsorship deal with Altrad

PARIS (AP) The French rugby federation has signed a multi-million deal with construction equipment group Altrad, which will become the shirt sponsor of the Tricolors.

The federation's executive committee approved on Monday the five-year deal, which will yield 35 million euros ($42 million) for amateur rugby.

The Altrad group, which is owned by Syrian-born French billionaire Mohed Altrad, was the sole bidder.

French federation president Bernard Laporte and Altrad are close friends.

Laporte was the subject of an investigation into an alleged conflict of interest involving Altrad last year. The former France coach and sports minister has denied accusations that he pressured the French federation's appeals board to reduce sanctions against Top 14 club Montpellier, which is owned by Altrad.

The French federation said its ethical committee considered the new sponsorship deal did not cause a conflict of interest.

Updated January 8, 2018