Marseille`s Marcelo Bielsa remains above transfer saga

AFP| Updated: Nov 21, 2014, 19:44 PM IST
Marseille`s Marcelo Bielsa remains above transfer saga

Marseille coach Marcelo Bielsa says he and his players were concentrating on matters on the pitch rather than the transfer fraud investigation engulfing the Ligue 1 leaders.

As French police continue their inquiry into a series of player transfers Bielsa is preparing for the visit of Bordeaux on Sunday with his team sitting atop the league.

Bielsa, appearing at a press conference, simply replied "No" when asked if the inquiry could influence his desire to remain as manager.

Police on Tuesday swooped to arrest around 15 club officials, including president Vincent Labrune and two former presidents.

All had been released from custody without charge by Thursday evening.

Bielsa insisted the scandal "shouldn`t have any effect on the players".

The Argentinian added: "I can`t give any opinion (on the inquiry), as I don`t know the legal procedures in this country and the facts of this story."

He added that he had not discussed the affair with Labrune.

Police are looking into various transfers, including that of key striker Andre-Pierre Gignac from Toulouse to Marseille in 2010.

A police source told AFP on Thursday that Marseille appeared to be "more of a victim" in the scandal that has embarrassed the famous French side as they lead holders Paris Saint-Germain in the title race ahead of the weekend action.

Suspicions of extortion, money-laundering, fraud and conspiracy with underworld gangs are being investigated.

Sources close to the investigation said gangland figures were suspected of receiving commission from several major transfers, including that of French World Cup player Gignac and Senegalese international Souleymane Diawara. Diawara joined in 2009 from Bordeaux and left this year for Nice.

Bielsa stressed at the press conference that he had "no contact with any agents", and asdded that Gignac was due to start on Sunday.