Bernard Tapie – middle – with Basile Boli (left) and Abedi Pele (right) after the 1993 Champions league final in Munich
Former president of French club Olympique Marseille Bernard Tapie has revealed how his club succeeded in signing the African prodigy Abedi Ayew Pele in 1987 from Mulhouse at the expense of rivals AS Monaco – by deploying a bizarre strategy that worked well.
Pele was the subject a transfer saga as the principality club and Tapie’s Marseille competed in the market for the signature of the Ghanaian playmaker and Tapie knew the only way his club was going to win the battle was to deploy a master plan that Pele had AIDS.
Speaking to journalists at Le Monde , Fabrice Lhomme and Gerard Davet last Friday, Tapie said with Pele scheduled to undergo a medical test at AS Monaco, he , conspired with an official of AS Monaco to concoct a falsehood that the Ghanaian player was HIV positive as that will end Monaco’s interest in the player.
“You know what, I told the player (Pele) that when he arrives at Monaco for the medical examination , he will be asked to take a blood test which is done for African players but that he should not agree, that he should tell them he cannot support the blood test. At the same time I conspired with an employee at AS Monaco who was a known figure within the club and instructed him to fabricate a falsehood that the player was HIV positive. You know we escaped beautifully and the plan worked well . He told me we (Monaco) didn’t take Pele because he is HIV positive”
Marseille were now free from the Monaco competition and went on to sign Abedi Pele the next day and the African genius would help them to lift the Champions league title in 1993.
“Its like that , you have to win” said the 74-year old Tapie.
The once controversial football figure also revealed that Valium was put into the drinks of the Marseille manager Raymond Goethals that calmed him to the extent that he allowed single players on the team to go out with girls at the hotel the day before a game will be played.
“I am ashamed of myself but we have to accept what we are, with the good and the bad,” Monsieur Tapie added.
Tapie’s Marseille were stripped of a Ligue 1 title in 1993 for allegedly fixing a league game against Valenciennes before their Champions league final versus AC Milan which the French side. Marseille later suffered demotion in France due to the match fixing as Tapei himself was slapped with a 2-year prison sentence for financial irregularities.
Tapie’s revelations go on to confirm public perceptions that the game is never a clean sport and serious things happen behind the scenes that could only come to public knowledge by some of these disclosures.