French businessman and politician Bernard Tapie has revealed that he initiated a rumour that Ghanaian football legend Abedi Ayew Pele was HIV positive in 1987 in order for AS Monaco to reject him during a transfer from Mulhouse.
The 74-year-old former Marseille president said on Friday in an interview with French media Le Monde that he leaked the false information to AS Monaco to get the Ghanaian to sign for Olympique Marseille.
“I told him (Pele) that he will be subjected to a blood test, which is generally done for African players. But he should refuse and say he does not support it,” he said.
He added that he told an employee of Monaco about the HIV rumour: “I told him, ‘you know, we have escaped him beautifully. I did not take Abedi Pele. He is HIV positive’, I knew he will betray me and tell Monaco. He did not fail at that. So when Pele refused the medical test, Monaco said: Ah yes, it is true. He is HIV positive, so we won’t take him.”
I told him, 'you know, we have escaped him beautifully. I did not take Abedi Pele. He is HIV positive', I knew he will betray me and tell Monaco. He did not fail at that. So when Pele refused the medical test, Monaco said: Ah yes, it is true.
“And the next day, he signed for Marseille! It’s like that. You should win,” he added.
He made the revelation after he was asked about the months he spent in jail for financial inappropriation and fixing a match between Valenciennes and Marseille in 1993.
“I was caught for stuff I did not do and not caught for stuff I did … I’m going to give you an example of something I did without getting caught … Hmmm, which one?” this led to the revelation.
Abedi Pele went ahead to win French Division 1 league for Olympique Marseille in 1991 and 1992 as well as the the UEFA Champions League in 1993. He left Marseille for Lyon in 1993.
The club was stripped of its French league championship, suffered relegation to the second division because of financial irregularities blamed on Bernard Tapie who led the club till 1994.