UEFA to probe Marseille '93 allegations

January 23, 2006

PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) - UEFA plan to look into doping allegations made by former Marseille player Jean-Jacques Eydelie before the 1993 Champions League final.

In an interview at the weekend, Eydelie, who was found guilty of bribery in the Valenciennes-Olympique Marseille match-fixing scandal, said he and several of his team mates had received injections before the game against AC Milan.

'UEFA is aware and is deeply concerned by the recent allegations made public in the French media by former Olympique Marseille player, Jean-Jacques Eydelie, concerning alleged doping prior to the UEFA Champions League final in Madrid in 1993,' European football's governing body said in a statement.

'UEFA will now look into this matter thoroughly despite the time elapsed since the match was played.

'UEFA is serious and committed to the battle against any form of doping within the sport of football, as exemplified by the introduction of out-of-competition testing in the UEFA Champions League.'

Marseille won the match 1-0 to become the first French side to lift Europe's top club trophy.

Eydelie also accused former Marseille chairman Bernard Tapie, who was in charge when the club won the European Cup, of various misdemeanours in the interview in Saturday's L'Equipe Magazine. Tapie has said he will sue Eydelie and the publication.

Tapie, a former minister during the 1990s when Francois Mitterrand was president, was sentenced to eight months in prison for his role in the 1993 Valenciennes match-fixing scandal. He was also banned from having any position in soccer for five years.

Eydelie said he was ordered to give money to the wife of former Valenciennes player Christophe Robert to convince him to lose the match against visitors Marseille.

Marseille won 1-0 and clinched their fifth consecutive title. They were stripped of the championship the following year and demoted to the second division after the scandal erupted. They were also banned from defending their European title.

Current Marseille coach Jean Fernandez, who coached the club at the start of the 1992-93 season, rejected Eydelie's accusations.

'Marseille then had the best team in France and one of the best in Europe, a bit like Lyon today,' Fernandez told reporters in Marseille. 'I don't see why we would have fixed matches or used doping. This is crazy'.