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Marseille scandal: Claims of bribing referees and drugging opponents emerge

Marc Fratini has claimed to have bribed a match official and drugged opposition players on the instruction of former Marseille president Bernard Tapie.

Bernard Tapie

A former associate of Bernard Tapie has brought scathing accusations against the well-known French businessman, politician and former president of Olympique Marseille in a tell-all interview for Le Monde.

Marc Fratini, a former politician, worked for Tapie while the latter was president of Olympique Marseille, during which time the club became the first and still the only French club to win the European Cup in 1993. Now almost 25 years on, Fratini has confessed to bribing referees and drugging opposition players on behalf of Tapie. 

In the interview with Le Monde, Fratini claims to have bribed the match official before a match against PSG, as well as injecting a psychotropic substance in the PSG players’ plastic drinking bottles.

“Once I participated in the purchase of a referee", explained the ex-deputy parliamentarian.

"It was a game against PSG in Paris… In that game the opponent was also destabilized with the use of a psychotropic drug, Haldol. Using ultrafine needle syringes, the product was injected into plastic bottles. Everything consumed by the opponent was treated.”

Fratini confirmed accusations that Rennes players were also drugged before a match which they loss 5-1 to Marseille. Rennes management claimed that Brazilian striker Mario Baltazar and goalkeeper Pascal Rousseau had drunk “suspicious orange juice at their hotel” which led the players to fall asleep during the trip between Marignane and Marseille.

Tapie denies claims

Speaking to Le Parisien, the former Marseille president categorically denied the accusations against him, blasting Fratini for “opening a container that has been closed for 30 years.”

"There are idiots who will want to believe all this because it will please them, and there will be people who have a conscience. Those ones will realize that all of this is uproar,” said Tapie, who is the owner of French daily newspaper La Provence.

“If he (Fratini) bought a referee, he must give his name, say where, when and who gave him the money ... What I know is that he is very disappointed that he did not put La Provence at the service of him and his friends. That's the story. I have no more comments to make, it's not worth anything and nothing will happen.

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