Former boss of Olympique Marseille, Bernard Tapie, dies aged 78

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The former boss of the French football club Olympique Marseille (OM), Bernard Tapie, is dead, French media reported on Sunday.

Tapie died of cancer, media reports cited his family as saying. He was 78 years old.

Tapie “will leave a great void in the hearts” of the people of Marseille and would forever remain part of the club’s legacy, Olympique Marseille wrote on Twitter, describing its “great sadness” at Tapie’s passing.

He was also a household name in France outside the world of sport.

After great successes as head of the La Vie Claire cycling team, Tapie took over Olympique Marseille in 1985 and led the club out of a crisis that had lasted for years and into a golden age.

With him as president, OM won four championships (1989-92) and in 1993 became the only club in France to win the Champions League.

Tapie was a dazzling figure in France, but he also made negative headlines. After winning the fifth league title in a row with OM, it came to light in 1993 that officials had paid bribes before the match against Valenciennes.

The title was revoked and the club was relegated to the 2nd division in 1994. A prison sentence followed at the end of the 1990s for bribery and embezzlement, among other things.

In recent years, Tapie has also been in the spotlight because of a court case for alleged misappropriation of public funds.

Tapie was born in Paris on January 26, 1943. An engineer by training, he also worked as an actor.

During the presidency of his friend Francois Mitterrand, he became minister for urban affairs. For a short time, the businessman was the owner of the sports goods manufacturer Adidas.

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