Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad's bid to buy historic English side Gloucester has been referred to rugby's governing body to see if there is a conflict of interest, European Professional Club Rugby said Friday.
Altrad, whose extraordinary story has seen him rise from being born to an impoverished Bedouin family in Syria to become one of France's most successful entrepreneurs, has lodged a bid for a majority stake in Gloucester.
EPCR, which organises rugby's top European tournaments, says though it has to be referred to World Rugby and the clubs' respective federations because both teams are involved in European competition.
"EPCR has discussed the matter at the most recent meeting of its executive committee," said an EPCR statement.
"To have a controlling influence on two clubs participating in European club competition would require consent from the unions concerned (in this case, the RFU and the FFR, who are both shareholders and are represented on the EPCR Board) as well as from World Rugby and EPCR itself.
"EPCR has written to the three organisations in question, asking for their clarified positions on the matter.
"EPCR is committed to completing all of its due diligence regarding this matter and to assessing any potential risks to the integrity and image of its tournaments in which both clubs participate, by avoiding any potential conflict of interest, or perception thereof."
Altrad, whose mother died shortly after he was born and he was brought up by his grandparents, has turned Montpellier into regular Top 14 play-off contenders since he acquired a majority stake in 2011 and they won the European Challenge Cup -- the second-tier European club competition -- last season.
Gloucester are one of England's oldest clubs having been created in 1873 but have been crowned domestic champions just once, in the 2001/02 season, though they did win the Challenge Cup in 2015.