Reuters

Wenger slams former Marseille chairman

Wenger slams former Marseille chairman
By Reuters

23/01/2006 at 13:39Updated

Arsenal's French manager Arsene Wenger has described former Olympique Marseille chairman Bernard Tapie as a bad influence on French soccer. "It does not surprise me," Wenger said referring to comments made by former Marseille player Jean-Jacques Eydelie o

Tapie was in charge of Marseille in the early 1990s.

"Those are things that I knew, that many people knew," Wenger, who coached Monaco from 1987 to 1994, told Monday's issue of French sports daily L'Equipe.

"We are talking about the worst period French football has been through. It was gangrenous from the inside because of the influence and the methods of Tapie at Marseille," Wenger added.

Tapie, who was in charge when Marseille lifted the European Cup in 1993, said he would sue Eydelie and the French sports weekly L'Equipe Magazine that published the interview on Saturday.

In the interview, Eydelie, who was found guilty of bribery in the 1993 Valenciennes-OM match-fixing scandal, accused Tapie of cheating and said he and several of his team mates had received injections before the 1993 Champions League final against AC Milan.

Marseille beat Milan 1-0 to become the first French club to lift Europe's top club trophy.

Tapie, a former minister in French president Francois Mitterrand government during the 1990s, was sentenced to eight months in prison for his role in the 1993 scandal. He was also banned from having any position in soccer for five years.

Eydelie said he was ordered to give money to the wife of former Valenciennes player Christophe Robert to convince him to lose the match in 1993 against visitors Marseille.

Marseille won 1-0 and clinched their fifth consecutive title. They were stripped of the championship the following year and demoted to the second division after the scandal erupted. They were also banned from defending their European title.

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