Tapie denies rigging

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The Independent Online
Bernard Tapie, the former owner of Marseille, has denied accusations by his former assistant that he ordered the match rigging that led to the French club being stripped of its league title and the European Cup, and relegated.

Jean-Pierre Bernes, the former Marseille managing director, added a new claim during the second day of the bribery trial yesterday. He alleged through his defence lawyer that Tapie had been threatening him.

"I demand immediate protection for my client," said the lawyer, Gilbert Collard. "You can see he is very afraid... there have been calls in the night."

Tapie, Bernes and the former Marseille player Jean-Jacques Eydelie are charged with arranging bribes for the then Valenciennes players, Christophe Robert and Jorge Burruchaga, to play below par in a May 1993 French League match just before Marseille played in - and won - the European Cup final.

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