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04.03.2019 Europe

Marseille Ex-Boss Storms Out Of Live Radio Interview Over Corruption Allegations

By Paul Myers - RFI
Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP
LISTEN MAR 4, 2019

Former Marseille football chief Bernard Tapie has theatrically terminated a live radio interview after refusing to answer questions about claims from former right-hand-man Marc Fratani that he bribed a referee.

During an intervew with Audrey Crespo-Mara on Europe 1's morning programme, Tapie said, "If there's a referee who accepts being paid then we need to know.

"I have asked the league via my lawyers to get Fratani to go in and identify the man," the 76-year-old former minister of city affairs added.

"I came here to talk about my trial and what is happening in the country but if we are going to spend the morning talking about what Fratani has said then I'm going to leave," he said, before doing just that.

Tapie walked out of the studio to leave Crespo-Mara explaining to listeners that Tapie had agreed to broach the subject of Fratani's allegations that had appeared in Le Monde newspaper at the weekend.

During a 30 year association, Fratani was Tapie's former chauffer and parliamentary assistant. He told the newspaper that the corruption was not systematic and implicated the club's former sporting director Jean-Pierre Bernès in the shenanigans.

Tapie was Marseille president between 1986 and 1994 during which the club won four consecutive French titles and the 1993 Uefa Champions League.

His presidency ended amid a swirl of corruption allegations following an attempt to bribe several Valenciennes players for a Ligue 1 match just before the 1993 Champions Leauge final.

Marseille were stripped of the 1993 French league title but were allowed to keep their European crown. Tapie was eventually jailed over the affair.