The Marseille town hall took time to react publicly after the explosive week experienced by Pablo Longoria last week at OM and is starting to speak out. It was time. Invited on the BFM Marseille set Thursday evening, Benoît Payan was inevitably questioned about the crisis within the Marseille club and the tensions between the management and the supporters.
“We are going to speak to each other very clearly,” he admits in his first real public speech more than a week after the events. The 'it is said', the 'it is said that'... all that doesn't work. I called him in the morning (the day of Longoria's interview in La Provence). Today, justice has taken action itself. It was not Pablo who filed the complaint. It was the public prosecutor who opened (an investigation). And I condemn all violence, wherever it comes from. My role is to call for calm. My role is not to divide. OM is an institution. When there are excesses, on one side or the other, when there are mistakes, on one side or the other, I speak out. Today, I need to disentangle the false from the true. What I want is for people to talk to each other, for us to return to calm. My role is to soothe. It’s not about rubbing salt on the wounds.”
The councilor, whose lack of public support was not appreciated by the current management of OM, led by Pablo Longoria, wanted to go further in his explanations. Without ever criticizing the attitude of certain supporters, in particular that of Rachid Zeroual, a very influential member of the South Winners and close to Samia Ghali, his deputy at Marseille town hall.
“I don’t want to politicize the issues surrounding Olympique de Marseille,” he explains. Olympique de Marseille does not belong to a political clan. It belongs to the Marseillaises and the Marseillais, to its supporters, of course to its shareholder on an institutional level, but not only that. So we must protect this institution. And so the main shareholder (Frank McCourt) will have to take his responsibilities to call for calm. Pablo was very affected by what happened. I have no subject to support it. I'm just saying that I don't always jump into action whenever there's the slightest problem. For a long time in Marseille we were used to having politicians who went to cry on television sets and who did not act. Me, rather than coming to whine on a television set, I act. We must now bring everyone around the table so that we come out on top. I'm tired of my city setting a bad example because some people have fun making it worse. »