Football: Tapie defensive: French bribery scandal

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

THE MARSEILLE midfielder Jean-Jacques Eydelie yesterday became the second player to be placed under investigation over claims that the European champions tried to rig a league match.

Eydelie was named by a Valenciennes player, Christophe Robert, in allegations that Marseille players and an official approached Valenciennes players to bribe them to play badly in a league match on May 20. Eydelie's lawyer said that the player disputed the evidence.

Robert was placed under investigation on Saturday for passive corruption. He claimed that allegations by his team-mate, Jacques Glassmann, that he, Robert, and the Argentinian international, Jorge Burruchaga, had been contacted before the game by Eydelie and the Marseille general secretary, Jean-Pierre Bernes, and offered money were true.

Marseille, who beat Valenciennes 1-0 and went on to win the French title, have repeatedly denied the allegations.

The Sunday newspaper, Journal du Dimanche, quoted the Marseille president, Bernard Tapie, as saying: 'I'm sickened. It's a lynching, and there's not the slightest proof of guilt.' Police also went to the home of Bernes on Saturday, but he had been taken to hospital just hours earlier.

Tapie said Bernes had been suffering from depression for some months and his condition had worsened because of the allegations.