WALLABIES coach Michael Cheika has hit back at Mourad Boudjellal for joking about the Greek financial crisis after the Toulon president said Quade Cooper could end up as broke as the embattled nation if he backs out on their signed contract.
The contract saga between Cooper, Toulon and the Australian Rugby Union continues to show no sign of peaceful resolution, with Boudjellal continuing to threaten to sue the player and the ARU in an interview in a French newspaper.
Cooper signed a two-year contract with Toulon earlier this year but is poised to backflip and re-sign for four years with the ARU.
But Cooper has now been summoned to Toulon for a medical and if he doesn’t turn up Boudjellal indicated in an interview with Midi Olympique he can pursue a compensation worth the entire value of the two-year contract — potentially worth up to $A2 million.
“It could make him alone the second most indebted State after Greece (laughs)!” the paper reported Boudjellal as saying.
After arriving home from Argentina last night, Cheika questioned the appropriateness of Boudjellal’s humour.
“I don’t think it is an issue to be joked about to be honest, there are a lot of people struggling over there,” Cheika said.
“I don’t think it is that funny, that type of stuff. He is entitled to say what he likes, and do what he wants to do. But I don’t know if those analogies are necessary.
“I understand why he wants to fight for the player, because he’s a really good player. He is doing his bit and I have nothing against him for fighting for the player. That’s his right. Just like we want to fight for our players.”
There has been speculation Cooper could pay a $230,000 release fee to Toulon to get out of his deal but Boudjellal said that was an escape fee for a preliminary “promise contract” only — not the full contract.
“The moron of the Australian federation who does not know his file needs to know that the promise of employment is no longer the question,” Boudjellal told the paper.
“€150 000 ($A228,000) was to pay for the release of promise of contract, but Cooper has signed his contract, I can produce it if necessary, and received it the League. The contract promise is now obsolete. At the present time, if Cooper withdraws, it will have to pay the amount of the contract!
Boudjellal said if Cooper doesn’t honour his contract he will “have more need of money than words”. Boudjellal said last week he could seek “millions” in compensation and it is realistic Cooper signed a contract with Toulon worth up to $A2 million.
“He signed a promise of hiring in the vicinity of the end of April, a month and a half after he signed the contract: so he had time to think before committing,” Boudjellal said.
The newspaper reported Cooper’s agent Khoder Nasser had been in recent talks with Boudjellal.