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Feb 28, 2013

Marseille owner angered by sale talk

Marseille owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus says she has no intention of selling Ligue 1's third-placed club and slammed former club president Bernard Tapie as a "false friend" of Marseille after his outspoken comments over the weekend.

Louis-Dreyfus, speaking after Marseille had lost 2-0 to Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France on Wednesday, said: "I have no intention of selling. I can only repeat my pride at the strategy we've chosen at the club. We have good financial results now and I think Marseille is setting a good example in France. Even if we don't have the money of the Qataris [who own Paris Saint-Germain], I'm happy with what we're doing."

Marseille have been successful in cutting their wage bill this season, moving several big-earners such as Stephane Mbia, Alou Diarra and Loic Remy out of the club.

The surplus generated by Marseille's transfer dealings has helped fill the hole of no Champions League football and reduced gate receipts because of renovation work at the Stade Velodrome ahead of Euro 2016. The damage done to Marseille's income was estimated at "about €40 million " by club president Vincent Labrune in an interview he gave to France Football last summer.

Marseille became the first and thus far only club to win the Champions League in 1993 when the colourful Tapie was president. Tapie, who later served a jail term relating to the Valenciennes-Marseille match-fixing case arising from the 1992-1993 season, told RTL radio last Sunday: "There are lots of people with means who could marry their image with that of Marseille. It would do no harm were we to find a large extra sponsor to help Margarita build a stronger team."

Louis-Dreyfus didn't mince her words in her response to Tapie's interview, saying: "I regret what has been said to the media by certain people outside the club, who pretend to be friends of Marseille. In truth, they are false friends of the club who use the club's image for personal gain."

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