American businessman Frank McCourt has announced that he will be buying French Ligue 1 football club Olympique de Marseille (OM). Having fallen under the shadow of rival team Paris Saint-Germain, McCourt plans to return the club to its former glory. The deal, which reportedly cost McCourt over 40 million euros, is due to be completed by the end of the year.
McCourt, the former owner of American baseball team the L.A Dodgers, bought OM from current owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus after she announced in April that she wanted to sell her share. 63-year old McCourt worked as a property developer until he bought the Dodgers in 2004, selling the team eight years later for a record two billion dollars. Described as the “best choice” by Ms Dreyfus, McCourt hopes to bring long-term financial stability to the club.
Despite once being a formidable opponent, recent seasons have been tough for Olympique de Marseille. As well as having won the French league nine times, former achievements include being the only French side to win the Champions League with a win over AC Milan in 1993.
Recently, however, the team has struggled with both poor form and hostile fans, only managing to finish 13th this season. They have not won a trophy since winning the League Cup in 2012 under manager Dider Deschamps, who was captain of the 1993 Marseille squad. Since his departure, subsequent managers have failed to maintain a consistent standard.
Despite their recent misfortune, McCourt is still hailing OM as having the potential to be “the best in the French league and one of the best in the world.” He hopes that he can follow in the footsteps of Qatari investors, who turned the fortunes of Paris Saint-Germain around with their 2011 investment.