The National Financial Prosecutor's Office has confirmed it is investigating possible favouritism, corruption and influence-peddling ©Getty Images

The headquarters of the France 2023 Rugby World Cup Organising Committee have been raided by French prosecutors amid suspicions of corruption and favouritism, it has been confirmed.

The National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (PNF) has announced that a search is being carried out at France 2023’s offices as part of a preliminary investigation into the running of the Organising Committee.

"In early October 2022, the PNF opened a preliminary investigation into charges of favouritism, influence peddling, corruption and any other related offence relating to the management of GIP France 2023," the statement from the PNF read in a report by Reuters.

"The investigation was entrusted to the Paris research section (gendarmerie).

"It follows a joint report from the Inspectorate General of Finance and the Inspectorate General of Education, Sport and Research.

"A search is under way at various points, including the headquarters of GIP France 2023."

France 2023 has also confirmed that the search is taking place.

Claude Atcher was axed as France 2023 chief executive last month ©Getty Images
Claude Atcher was axed as France 2023 chief executive last month ©Getty Images

"This intervention is a continuation of the mission of the General Inspectorate of Finances, mandated this summer by the Government to verify the management of the entities of the Organising Committee (GIP, GIE and Endowment Fund) with the General Inspectorate of National Education, Sport and Research," the statement from France 2023 read.

"France 2023 will not comment further on the subject."

The investigation casts a further shadow over preparations for the Rugby World Cup - one of the key major events due to take place in France before the Paris 2024 Olympics and Paralympics.

Last month, Claude Atcher was dismissed as chief executive of France 2023 in the wake of a report that outlined "deep social malaise" within the organisation.

Atcher had been suspended since August because of the French Labour Inspectorate investigation, which corroborated much of what L'Équipe had reported in accusing Atcher of "management by terror."

Prosecutors have requested Atcher be sent to prison for a year, with a further six-month sentence suspended, and want Atcher to face a €50,000 (£44,000/$50,100) fine.

The verdict is expected on December 13.