Olympique de Marseille

How lockdown threatens to burst French football's speculative financial bubble

France — Investigation

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), which runs the top-tier professional football leagues in France, has voted to obtain a 224.5 million-euro loan from the French state to help out its member clubs, especially those in the elite Ligue 1 division. But even despite this help some clubs are on the brink of going into administration. Mediapart can reveal confidential documents which show the risky nature of the loan arrangement, which the state agreed to without making any solvency checks. As Laurent Mauduit writes, there is a risk that French taxpayers could end up having to pay the bill for the excesses of the football industry.

The convicted and banned football agent who continues his dealings in secret

International — Investigation

Luciano D’Onofrio was once an agent for star football players who included Zinedine Zidane (now manager of club Real Madrid) and Didier Deschamps (now manager of the France national team). But D’Onofrio was later convicted for his part in a series of football corruption scandals, and eventually barred from exercising as an agent. However, documents obtained from the whistle-blowing platform Football Leaks, and accessed by Mediapart and its partners in the journalistic collective European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), demonstrate that he has continued his business in secret, investing in under-age footballers, buying stakes in players, and placing some of the footballers in a club in Saudi Arabia. Michaël Hajdenberg, Michel Henry, and Yann Philippin report.

US businessman set to buy Marseille football club

France — Link

Frank McCourt, former owner of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, described the French club as 'one of the most iconic brands in all sports'.

French tycoon Bernard Tapie announces return to politics

France — Link

Ex-minister embroiled in scandal over which IMF boss Christine Lagarde faces court wants to fight youth unemployment and rise of far-right.

How Marseille scored an own goal in PPP deal to refurbish the Stade Vélodrome


A fierce and colourful dispute between l’Olympique de Marseille, one of France’s most celebrated football clubs, and Marseille’s city council was ended last week after both sides agreed a new deal on the rent the club should pay for the use of its iconic home ground, the Stade Vélodrome. The cost of the club’s rental of the stadium, owned by the city, was increased five-fold to compensate the steep financial terms of its renovation under a public-private partnership (PPP) deal. But, as Thomas Saint-Cricq reports, the agreement threatens to become a financial disaster for Marseille’s taxpayers and highlights the incompetence of cash-strapped local authorities to negotiate PPPs – all to the benefit of their private 'partners'.

Football, more than just a game in Marseille

Portfolios — 20 photos

Marseille is, of course, well-known in the football world for its glamorous club Olympique de Marseille - often simply called OM - with its galaxy of star names, its display cabinets stuffed full of trophies and its famous Vélodrome stadium which is being refurbished in time for the Euro 2016 tournament, largely with public money. But there is another, more diverse, side to football in Marseille, which has a total of 112 different clubs, 13,776 registered players and 60 stadia of varying size and condition. This is also the place where one of France's footballing greats Zinedine Zidane was born and honed his skills as a boy, a city where, in housing estates ravaged by poverty and drug-dealing, people play football for pleasure, to fit in, to make something of themselves or simply because there is nothing else to do. And as these striking images from French photographer Patrick Artinian show, people in Marseille are often forced to play football wherever they can find some space.