Abedi Pele’s HIV Status: How French Club Marseille Manipulated the Ghanaian’s Transfer in 1987


When Abedi Pele’s HIV status became a subject of discussion back in the 80s, it was all the doing of former Marseille president Bernard Tapie…

Remember in 1987, when French club Olympique Marseille succeeded in signing the Football hot cake Abedi Ayew Pele from Mulhouse at the expense of rivals AS Monaco? here is what really transpired prior to Pele’s move.

Though it might have seemed like a smooth transfer, the French club, deployed a rather tactful means to achieve their primary aim which was to sign Abedi Pele over. Marselli’s win over would not have been possible without the former President of the French club, Bernard Tapie.

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The former President has revealed how he tricked rivals Monaco into believing that the priceless player was HIV positive – a strategy that earned them his club a smooth transfer deal with Pele.

In an interaction with journalists at Le Monde, Fabrice Lhomme and Gerard Davet, 74-year-old Tapie, said he had conspired with an official of AS Monaco to concoct a falsehood that the Ghanaian player was HIV positive as that will end Monaco’s interest in the player. This was following the strong determination from the rival club to get the football jewel on their team.

How He Succeeded



Explaining how he implemented his strategy, Tapie said he told Pele to abruptly reject the compulsory blood test usually done for African players when he arrived Monaco for medical examination. He went further to say that at the same time, he also conspired with a prominent employee at AS Monaco and instructed him to fabricate a falsehood that the player was HIV positive.

Tapie’s plan was so perfect for the moment and he (and his club) succeeded in signing Abedi Pele. Following the perfect scheme, Monaco declined from the transfer due to Abedi Pele’s HIV status. “You know we escaped beautifully and the plan worked well” Tapie told the journalists.

Other Escapades

The 74-year-old also went ahead to reveal more of his escapades during his time in football. He talked about episodes where he resorted to putting sleeping pills -valium, into the drinks of the Marseille manager, Raymond Goethals. The pills saw the manager so calm to the extent that he allowed single players on the team to go out with girls at the hotel the day before a game will be played.

The once controversial football figure more or less regretted his actions but was quick to add that Abedi Pele’s HIV status and other escapades are only a few instances which prove that the game is never a clean sport and that serious things happen behind the scenes. Some of these he said, can only come to public knowledge by exclusive disclosures.

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