Thursday 27 October 2016

Struggling French giants Marseille put up for sale

Published 14/04/2016 | 11:03

Marseille won the European Cup in 1993
Marseille won the European Cup in 1993

Marseille have been put up for sale by their owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.

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The Swiss-Russian businesswoman took over the club, and the Louis Dreyfus Group, following the death of her husband Robert from leukaemia in 2009 and has since invested heavily.

But she said in a statement released on "States or investment groups with almost unlimited funds now dominate (football). Their investments have commercial and political aims far beyond sport.

"That has never been the case for Robert or myself, we have put our money in out of love for football and for OM in particular.

"I understand the frustration of fans at seeing OM unable to compete at the same level and I have taken the decision to sell the club to the best possible investor for the long term.

"The price is not my primary preoccupation, the ability of the new owner to build a team which can win at the highest level is essential.

"As soon as a buyer is chosen, I will inform the mayor and the supporters."

The decision comes with Marseille struggling in 14th place in Ligue 1, 13 points distant from the European places.

They are even at risk of being dragged into the relegation battle - they are six points ahead of 18th-placed GFC Ajaccio with five games to play.

Louis-Dreyfus wrote: "We have had highs in finishing as French champions in 2010 (the first time since 1992) and winning the Coupe de la Ligue three times, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and lows - notably at the moment."

Club president Vincent Labrune praised Louis-Dreyfus' ownership but also welcomed her decision to sell.

"Since the death of Robert Louis-Dreyfus in 2009, Margarita's investment has been daily and without fail," he told the club's website.

"Her principal wish today is to give a new boost to the club to leave it more competitive. It's very good news for all who love OM."

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