Thanks to Basile Boli's goal and the victory over AC Milan in the final, OM is "forever the first", as fans still sometimes chant thirty years later. But every medal has its flip side. Separated by only six days, the first European title of a French club finds its counterpart in the so-called "VA-OM" match case, which will precipitate in the judicial section the Marseille club and French football for nearly five years.
VA-OM is the story of the biggest corruption case ever uncovered in French football. Initially, it is a simple advanced match of the 36th day, this Thursday, May 20, 1993 at the Nungesser stadium, in Valenciennes (Nord). Match that OM does not want to lose, to keep away PSG and Monaco, both 4 points. While preserving his players, in view of the grand final against Milan, six days later in Munich (Germany).
Three Valencians are approached by OM to "lift the foot" against 200,000 francs of the time (30,000 euros): Jorge Burruchaga, Christophe Robert and Jacques Glassmann. Jean-Jacques Eydelie, OM player and former teammate of Glassmann in Tours (1987-1988), and Jean-Pierre Bernès, the club's deputy director, play the role of intermediaries.
Christophe Robert's 200,000 francs buried in a garden
OM opened the scoring quickly thanks to Croatian striker Alen Boksic and won 1-0 at the 18th (finally relegated to D2), but Jacques Glassmann did not intend to be corrupted or intimidated. He revealed the maneuver during the match by warning the referee Jean-Marie Véniel just before the kick-off of the second period – a technical reserve was deposited by the northern club – then he testified to the 20 Heures d'Antenne 2 the Saturday following the game. OM triumphed in Munich the following Wednesday (1-0), but the fire took hold and continues to intensify.
The Professional League (then chaired by Noël Le Graët) filed a complaint against X. Eric de Montgolfier, the prosecutor of Valenciennes, opened a judicial investigation. Soon, the VA-OM soap opera made headlines. The gendarmes found the 200,000 francs accepted by Christophe Robert and buried in the garden of the latter's mother-in-law in the Périgord. Burruchaga also accepted the money.
Tapie sentenced to prison
At OM headquarters, tickets were seized, identical to those given by Eydelie to Mrs. Robert in the parking lot of the Novotel de Valenciennes, the day before the match. Weeks pass, masks fall. Bernès, Eydelie, Robert and Burruchaga confessed their involvement and were indicted for corruption on 7 July.
At the beginning of September, UEFA excluded OM from European competitions. In France, OM was stripped of the 1993 title. On February 10, 1994, it was the turn of the president-owner, Bernard Tapie (who died on October 3, 2021) himself, to be indicted. Then, at the end of April, OM was relegated to the 2nd division despite its 2nd place in the standings.
The trial was held from early March 1995 to mid-May. For corruption and witness tampering, Tapie was sentenced to two years in prison, including eight months on appeal, three years of ineligibility and a fine of 20,000 francs (3,000 euros). He was imprisoned for six months in La Santé prison in Paris, then in Aix-Luynes between February and July 1997, before being placed on parole. Bernès received a two-year suspended sentence, Eydelie received a one-year suspended sentence, Robert and Burruchaga suspended for six months.
For his part, Glassmann, whose professional career ended in 1994 at the age of 32, will be compensated up to 1 franc in damages for moral prejudice.