OM: President, directors step back following supporter meeti

With reports circulating that coach Marcelino has told OM players he will soon be leaving the club, the apparent crisis in Marseille took another turn on Tuesday as club president Pablo Longoria and club directors Javier Ribalta (director of football), Stéphane Tessier (administrative and financial director) and Pedro Iriondo (general manager) announced that they would be temporarily stepping back from their official functions.

Meeting sparks crisis

The announcement followed a meeting between Longoria, his directors and supporter groups on Monday night, the fans having angled for an opportunity to express their dissatisfaction following a lacklustre start to the season under Marcelino – a coach sought out and hired by Longoria – and most recently a goalless draw at home to Toulouse in Ligue 1 Uber Eats’s Round 5.

The meeting was reportedly ‘extremely tense’ as supporter representative Rachid Zeroual enumerated the fans’ complaints with Longoria’s policies and track record on a wide range of topics including the regular non-retention of key players like Steve Mandanda, Dimitri Payet, Mattéo Guendouzi and Alexis Sanchez; frequent changes of coach, players and club employees; nepotism; and financial precarity and poor training conditions for the women’s and certain youth teams.

Following the meeting, OM posted a press release on Tuesday:

“Since taking office, the Management Board of Olympique de Marseille has undertaken a profound transformation of the club’s organisational structure. The related developments mainly aim to establish operating standards worthy of a high-level European club, and to build a team capable of competing at the highest level.

The Directorate is carrying out this transformation in the sole and best interest of the club, seeking to establish a culture of excellence and professionalism. Particular attention is paid to ensure that each decision is made with the greatest integrity and in compliance with the club’s values and compliance rules.

The OM Executive Board is particularly proud of the progress made over the last two seasons, which has made it possible to strengthen the sporting, financial and institutional situation of the club. In 2022/23, OM positioned themselves on the Ligue 1 podium for the second consecutive time, which has not happened since 2011. The OM Directorate has also implemented major changes and has started in-depth work within its training centre and its women’s team, to live up to the expectations and ambitions of the club. All of these efforts must be continued in the long term so that OM can return to the highest level, as desired by the Management Board, determined and focused from the start on building a great football club.

However, following a meeting held on Monday September 18, 2023 at the Robert Louis-Dreyfus Training Centre, representatives of the supporters’ associations expressed their wish to see the current OM Directorate resign . The threat of a “war” (sic) against them was issued, for as long as they did not resign from their posts.

The OM Board of Directors believes in a transparent and regular relationship with its supporters, and everyone at the club – players, staff and management – considers that criticism is an integral part of the role and honour of representing OM on and off the field.

On the other hand, the OM Directorate cannot accept personal threats. Its members cannot tolerate individual attacks and any form of unfounded public defamation. A relationship based on intimidation cannot guarantee the minimum acceptable conditions for the club’s Board of Directors to continue to invest in the transformation of OM.”

What next?

The club’s directors will thus break with custom and not make the trip to Amsterdam as OM take on Ajax in their Europa League Matchday 1 clash on Thursday, but there is as yet no word on what delegation will make the trip to Paris for the all-important Classique against Paris Saint-Germain at Parc des Princes on Sunday night.

Source From: Ligue 1 – RSS Feed

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