Former Marseille president dies in Senegal after contracting coronavirus

By AFP: Wednesday, April 1st 2020 at 23:00 GMT +3 | Football
Former Olympique Marseille president Pape Diouf holds a news conference to announce his candidacy for the upcoming municipal elections in Marseille, France February 4, 2014 [COURTESY]

Former Marseille president Pape Diouf has died aged 68 after contracting the new coronavirus, a family source told AFP on Tuesday.

Diouf, who was born in Chad but had French and Senegalese citizenship, led the club between 2005-2009 and helped build the side who lifted the Ligue 1 title in 2010.

He was hospitalised in Senegal after contracting the virus there and became the country's first COVID-19 fatality.

Diouf had been due to leave for Nice earlier on Tuesday to be treated in France, but a sharp deterioration in his health - which saw him placed on a respirator - prevented him from boarding the plane.

Diouf was also a journalist and football agent before taking over at the Stade Velodrome.

Moving to Marseille aged 18, he was set on a career in the military, but soon switched paths.

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After studying at the prestigious Sciences Po in Paris, he worked at the La Marseillaise newspaper before becoming a football agent, most notably for Didier Drogba, who enthralled the Velodrome in 2003-04.

He later became president at Marseille, "a difficult post, where there were very few men from diverse backgrounds," said Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the club's current president.

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