Munster Rugby have confirmed that centre Chris Farrell will step away from the team while an ongoing case involving the Irishman is referred to the French criminal court.
Chris Farrell case referred to French criminal court
The case stems from Farrell's time as a player with Grenoble in 2017. He and four other players were referred to a French criminal court this week as a result of the ongoing case.
Three men - Irishman Denis Coulson (28), New Zealander Rory Grice (32), and Frenchman Loick Jammes (27) are accused of raping a young woman in Merignac in 2017, after a Top 14 game between Grenoble and Bordeaux-Begles.
Reports suggest that there is the "presence of sufficient evidence" to bring forward an accusation of "not stopping a crime" against Farrell and Dylan Hayes of New Zealand (28).
The case has been referred to the Assises Court of Gironde, which tries serious criminal cases.
Munster Rugby gave a statement to the Independent, in which they said:
Munster Rugby and Chris Farrell have agreed that, with immediate effect, he will be stepping back from his involvement with the Munster squad whilst legal proceedings in France, concerning his alleged involvement as a witness to an alleged crime in 2017, are on-going.
As this is an active legal matter before the French courts, we have no further comment.
A report from the French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré reports that charges were brought against Coulson, Grice, and Jammes in 2019, but that the three men appealed this.
Farrell was reportedly put under investigation last year for the offence of "not stopping a crime". He was part of the initial investigation into the incident in 2017, when French police questioned him as a possible witness to the alleged rape.