French Top 14 rugby side Racing 92 have launched legal proceedings against one of their own players, Johan Goosen.
The fly-half surprisingly announced his retirement at the age of just 24 to move back to his native South Africa.
A report in French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique linked Goosen with a possible move to join English side Gloucester.
Racing, who face Munster in the Champions Cup this weekend, have accused Goosen of "blatant fraud", and will bring the player and his associates to court over the matter.
In their full and strongly worded statement, the club said: "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.
Johan Goosen with South Africa in 2016 ©INPHO/Photosport/Tertius Pickard
"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."
Goosen joined Racing 92 in 2014 after leaving Cheetahs in his native South Africa.
He has been capped 13 times by the Springboks.
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