Sports News

Marseille owner Louis-Dreyfus dies

MARSEILLE (Reuters) - Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the main shareholder in French soccer team Olympique Marseille, died on Saturday, sources close to the Ligue 1 club said.

“Robert Louis-Dreyfus died in a Zurich hospital where he was treated for leukaemia,” the sources added.

French League chairman Frederic Thiriez paid tribute to Louis-Dreyfus.

“His love for soccer and his passion for Olympique Marseille were stronger than anything else.” he said in a statement. “We are going to miss him sorely. My thoughts go to his family, to Olympique Marseille and to their fantastic supporters.”

The 63-year-old businessman and former owner of sportswear maker Adidas took control of Marseille in 1997 and according to French media reports, invested more than 200 million euros ($280.4 million) in the club.

He was also the main shareholder in the Louis Dreyfus commodities group which is among the world’s leading merchandisers and traders of agricultural commodities.

“I’m very sad because a great businessman who also was a fantastic man died today and because he had such a love for our sport and for Olympique Marseille”, Olympique Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas told radio France Info.

Jean-Louis Triaud, chairman of Girondins Bordeaux, who pipped Marseille for the Ligue 1 title this season hailed Louis-Dreyfus as a man who “threw himself completely into Olympique Marseille”.