The open crisis at OM has become a communications war. This Wednesday, the president of OM, Pablo Longoria indicated in a interview given to Provence that threats had been made against him, the football director Javier Ribalta, the administrative and financial director Stéphane Tessier and the general director Pedro Iriondo on the occasion of the now famous meeting they held last Monday at the Commanderie with representatives of OM supporters groups, including the boss of the South Winners, Rachid Zeroual.
“It’s not normal for a football manager to be threatened. Let him be criticized, yes, we are paid for that. But threatened…,” Longoria declared to La Provence, adding: “There have been insinuations regarding my family. All these movements are based on instilling fear. “If you do that, we will slander you, we will release a file on you”: you know how many times I have experienced this in recent months? A lot “.
South Winners threaten to sue
These comments obviously did not please the South Winners, who published this Thursday afternoon a statement in which they affirm that, last Monday, “no ‘death threats’ or ‘threats of violence’ were ever made against the leaders, their families or anyone else.” The influential group of OM supporters threatens to “seize the judicial authority” against “any natural or legal person (who) intends to continue to relay this defamatory statement”.
According to the South Winners, the discussions at the Commanderie mainly focused on “the deplorable performance of OM and the strategic choices of the presidency since the start of the season”, as well as “the numerous dysfunctions of the training center”, where “questionable supervision methods” would be put in place.
36 young players of Marseille origin would have seen their contracts terminated in three months
In its press release, the group also denounces “the termination of contract of 36 players from the training center, all of Marseille origin and this since June 2023”, the “maintained silence on the reasons which led the management of OM to reject historic professional players” and the “countless changes of coaches necessarily causing instability in the team”. In conclusion, the South Winners indicate that “we must not confuse intimidation and defense of the interests of our players and our colors”.
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