The possible sale of Olympique de Marseille has been on everyone’s lips on the Old Port side for several weeks. If it was Toulon’s Mourad Boudjellal who first made the herald of a substantial offer to buy out the Marseille club from a pool of Mediterranean investors, the strong man of the project is actually called Mohamed Ayachi Ajroudi. The Franco-Tunisian businessman wanted to remind him this Tuesday evening in an interview given to AFP.
“When I read everything that is said, that I am only an intermediary… I am an industrialist, I have never been an intermediary, big companies like Suez know this. I put in cash, energy, time, I am not the intermediary of anybody, ”specifies the entrepreneur who has had views of the sky and white club for almost 30 years. “Redeeming OM is our idea with my team, I am not the suitcase carrier for the Saudis, the Kuwaitis or anyone else on this earth,” he insists.
This well-introduced man in the political and media sphere in the Middle East wants to be reassuring and pragmatic in his approach to offer himself OM. What proposal will he make? “Before making an offer from an investment bank, we need to know the liabilities and the assets, we are not going to make a blind offer,” explains this former hydraulic engineer.
“We are going to invest, put money in the club to develop it”
The very precarious situation of OM, in economic terms, could indeed be a brake on negotiations. For the moment, Mohamed Ayachi Ajroudi explains therefore working with “two leading investment banks, including one in France, which we cannot name for the moment”.
“I do not want to blaze, but be sure that we are going to invest, to put money in the club to develop it”, assures the one who created his own political party in Tunisia in 2013.
The presence of Saudi investors also agitates the world of football, which sees it as a hidden war against the Qataris, owners of the PSG. Mohamed Ayachi Ajroudi sweeps away this simplistic view of the issues. “The club will not have the Saudi flag. It’s not as simple, the media says: The Saudis arrive and will fight against the Qataris of Paris SG. In the round table, the Saudis and the Emiratis will not exceed the majority, there will be companies from all over the Mediterranean basin without exclusion, “defends the potential investor.
For those who present themselves as a layman who fights against political Islam, the OM takeover project goes beyond the sportsman. “OM would be the engine of a larger project. It is the only French club that has won this Champions League. And in joy, people get closer and closer, this happiness of victory is the locomotive of tolerance, “he explains, emphasizing the message of peace that football carries.
“If a ship is caught in the storm, it must find a port to shelter …”
“Marseille, a multi-millennial city, is a gateway to the Mediterranean to develop these football, culture and political projects. […] It is a humanitarian, social but also economic project, intended to flourish at the very heart of the Vélodrome stadium. Let us honor our motto: Straight to the point, ”enthuses the one who is already appropriating the club’s motto.
The industrialist finally claims to have started discussions with Frank McCourt, whom he has not yet met. “When it is ready to sell, we are ready and our team takes over. If a ship is caught in the storm, it has to find a harbor to shelter … ”
In the aftermath of this interview, Franck McCourt however denied any “discussion of any kind whatsoever with Mr. Ajroudi or his partners, contrary to what is reported in the media”. “Olympique de Marseille is not for sale,” he insists via a spokesperson for the American entrepreneur and current owner of the club.
“We are witnessing an attempt to destabilize the club, at the precise moment when it is going through its most auspicious and most successful period since the takeover of Frank McCourt” in October 2016, also accuses the former owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.