Former Marseille president claims PSG want Beckham because of his influence over referees
Published 12:02 24/11/11 By Neil McLeman
David Beckham will give PSG influence over referees, the controversial former president of Marseille has claimed.
The ex-England captain must decide between signing for the Ligue 1 leaders or staying with LA Galaxy - with a move to the French capital looking increasingly likely.
Bernard Tapie was sent to prison for corruption and banned from football after his Marseille side were stripped of the 1993 French title for match-fixing.
And the former government minister reckons the Qatari owners of PSG want the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and AC Milan star for more than on-field reasons.
Tapie said: “When you have David Beckham in your team, the world of football, even the referees will no longer look at you in the same way. When I hired Franz Beckenbauer in 1990, everyone thought it was only for his qualities as a coach. But it was also for the prestige. In his first European Cup game, when he went to say hello to the referee, he asked him to sign the match ball. The objective had been met: in two minutes, his fame as a coach was at the service of the club.
“Why pretend. The psychological influence that a big personality or club can exert is fundamental. Everyone says a lot of stupid things about corruption of referees: the envelopes, the prostitutes, the gold watches! Everyone forgets the human factor. A referee will always find it more difficult to whistle for a penalty against Real Madrid than Auxerre.
“Outside of France, who really knows PSG? Next season, if Paris play in the Champions League with Beckham in the team, the whole world will be talking about PSG. Not only because they will have become French champions, but because they will have a world star in the team.”
But Tapie, whose Marseille side captained by Didier Deschamps with Fabien Barthez in goal, won the 1993 Champions League, said PSG would aim for a bigger name manager than Carlo Ancelotti.
“Careful - do not compare Carlo Ancelotti’s fame with that of David Beckham,” said the 68-year-old. “It is not Ancelotti who will cause the crowds to quiver. There are only two stars among coaches: Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola. Those are the only two who could change the stature of a club like PSG.”