David Lengel: Front office athletics figures whose transgressions resulted them to prison form an exclusive club one that may soon grow in the wake of Fifa scandals
Last week Christopher Correa, scouting director of the St Louis Cardinals, was is guilty of cyber crimes and sent to prison for 46 months. Yet hes scarcely the first athletics executive who fell afoul of the law. Here a look at six of the chief offenders.
1) Bernard Tapie
Hes a former pop starring and performer, who once owned Adidas, who once supervised a cycling team, drove race cars and was a legislator, one endorsed by then French president Franois Mitterrand. Most of all, Bernard Tapie is a once-bankrupt business tycoon who is seemingly never far from a spotlight.
This summer, the 72 -year-old finds himself at the center of an ongoing political scandal involving IMF managing director Christine Lagarde, but thats not why hes on our list of infamous athletics higher-ups. The larger-than-life flamboyant French figure attains the cut because of transgressions committed during his ownership of one of European soccers crown jewel, Olympique Marseille.
Just six weeks after some 50,000 Marseille supporters watched their heroes win Frances first and merely European title with a 1-0 upset of AC Milan in May 1993, Laffaire OM broke out in earnest, rocking both club and country.
It was alleged that Tapie sought to pay off certain Valenciennes players, whom Marseille would face on 20 May in Ligue 1, six days before the Champions League final. Why would Tapie take such risks in a mostly meaningless domestic affiliation? So his OM players could have an easy match before facing AC Milan. Tapie set the strategy in motion from his yacht, informing general manager Jean-Pierre Bernes and OM midfielder Jean-Jacques Eydelie to offer cash to several in the Valenciennes side in exchange for laying down for OM.
Eydelie would write in his 2006 volume that Tapie told him that it is imperative that you get in touch with your former Nantes team-mates at Valenciennes( there were two ). We dont want them acting like morons and violating us before the final with Milan. Do you know them well?
The three Valenciennes players were Jacques Glassmann, Jorge Burruchaga and Christophe Robert: detectives would afterward dig up 250,000 francs, approximately 30,000, in the garden of Roberts aunt. That fund stank so much that I hurled it in a pit said Robert.
Glassman was the whistleblower, ensure by many as a traitor, and eventually picked up a gig on La Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Burruchaga and Robert were handed suspended six-month sentences and Eydelie received a one-year sentence. Bernes got a two-year suspended sentence and a $3,000 fine.
Tapie was protected due to his parliamentary immunity, that is, until it was voted away by MPs thanks to Tapies alleged role in a separate lawsuit. In 1995, Tapie was sentenced to one year in prison, afterward appealed down to eight months, and an additional one-year suspended term. Meanwhile, OM were stripped of their domestic title, banned from defending their European title, and relegated to the second division.