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Mar 4, 2013

Marseille chief hits out at fan protest

Marseille president Vincent Labrune has claimed there is a campaign to "destabilise" the club, with a fan protest last weekend the latest in a number of recent off-the-pitch controversies surrounding the Ligue 1 outfit.

• Remy wanted Marseille stay

The Marseille team coach was forced to stop en route to the Stade Velodrome by an 80-strong group of disgruntled supporters ahead of Sunday's Ligue 1 game against Troyes. The fans were calling for the resignation of sporting director Jose Anigo, seen as the main culprit in the club falling behind rivals Paris Saint-Germain, who beat them twice in the space of four days last week.

The incident comes less than a week after former Marseille presidents Bernard Tapie and Pape Diouf claimed the club would soon be sold and criticised the current powers-that-be at the Stade Velodrome. Labrune, though, believes it is merely part of an orchestrated move to unsettle the side.

"There is a campaign being organised around the club to try and destabilise it. It goes beyond sport. It's not our domain, it's that of the police," Labrune told the club's official website. "Our work is to run the club as best we can, with its best economic interests at heart, and above all, its best sporting interests. We have a squad capable of not being just the surprise of the first half of the season, but of being the surprise of the whole campaign."

With PSG losing and Lyon only drawing last weekend, Marseille took advantage to close the gap to second-placed Lyon to three points, even if their 2-1 triumph over Troyes was far from convincing.

Coach Elie Baup lambasted his own team's fans, claiming their actions had contributed to a below-par display.

"Our supporters aren't helping us by doing that," he said. "What annoys me is that it disrupts our preparation. Before a game, everything has to be done down to the last detail. We like to arrive early to be able to warm up correctly. It didn't help us. It delayed the bus. It's not professional."

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