French football: Marseille come clean as Brandao accused of rape

In Salut! Sunderland‘s French Fancies series, we take a look at a display of candour of a type rarely encountered in the English game …

It seems almost unimaginable in the Premier League.

A player is suspected of forcing his sexual attentions on a woman in a motorway service area. Far from clamming up behind an absurd wall of “none of your business” silence, the club’s chairman talks openly about his exasperation with the player’s general conduct.

Not for a moment does he second-guess what the police investigation will uncover. The player remains innocent in the eyes of the law until courts decide otherwise. And also in the eyes of Jean-Claude Dassier, chairman of l’OM, or Marseille or even Marseilles, the best-supported club side in France and Manchester United’s Champions’ League opponents next Tuesday.

But that doesn’t stop Dassier laying into the accused player, Brandao, for his attitude towards repaying the fabulous wages he undoubtedly earns from being able to play football quite well.

In a frank interview with the French sports newspaper L’Equipe, Dassier says he assumes no right to involve himself in players’ private lives unless there are consequences – as in this case – for the club and its image.

As things stand, he adds, Brandao is almost sure to face disciplinary action, and possibly a swift transfer to an eastern European club, when he returns having missed the Man Utd game from an agreed weeklong visit home to Brazil. It is not clear whether he will ever again appear in Marseille colours.

Whatever the truth of the criminal allegations, Brandao’s conduct is, for Dassier, unacceptable. He even points to precedent, the newspaper helpfully adding a footnote that he let it be known that the player “n’a pas une hygiène confirme aux exigences de son métier“.

If rudimentary French suggests that makes Brandao a dirty sod, think again. Hygiène in this context means his lifestyle, and it is clearly not one of which the club chairman approves.

Talking generally about OM players, he says they have been warned that anything approaching a repetition of “l’affaire Brandao” will lead to punishment.

“It’s not the occasional visit to a nightclub that shocks me,” he says. “The question for me is how many days before a match it happens and what they consume. They’re young, handsome and are doing well with their lives, But when you are a star you are in the public eye. You cannot allow yourself to behave no matter how when you carry the good name of OM.”

L’affaire Brandao is a one-off. The player may be entirely innocent of any illegal acts. But for all his ability as a footballer, he doesn’t impress his club chairman.

It is not in quite the same league but when English players, or players with English clubs, go astray, the clubs issue indignant “no comments”; when they perpetrate career-threatening injuries on opponents, it’s “he hasn’t a malicious bone in his body”.

Three cheers, therefore, for a spot of Gallic honesty from Jean-Claude Dassier.

If all clubs were as candid in such matters, football would not be in the parlous state it is, with public perceptions of arrogance, ignorance and greed threatening to overwhelm our love of the game.

Monsieur Salut

6 thoughts on “French football: Marseille come clean as Brandao accused of rape”

  1. That’s it. Brandao is still innocent unless proven otherwise. But some already punished him even before he is proven guilty. That’s unfair for him. Maybe let’s wait until authorities can come into a conclusion.

    Terry C.

  2. Yes, those are very fair points Malcolm. It’s always easy to say that we should judge each case on its merits etc, but these days the number of cases of alleged rape involving footballers is shocking. I take your point about the ease with which someone can be accused, and an accusation of rape should be taken seriously, when it is proven false and malicious in the same way that a genuine offence is pursued.

    The teacher that you refer to was clearly an innocent man caught up in dreadful circumstances which were not of his making. I rather doubt that will stop ignorant people who don’t follow the case beyond the initial accusations and assume guilt thereafter, and make the man’s life a misery in some sort of miscalculated vigilantism.

  3. Can’t really disagree with you Jeremy – just my point is that alleged victims can remain anonymous whilst those they accuse are publically named and whatever the outcome the stigma remains. I won’t name the many celebrities who have been accused and subsequently acquitted of all charges relating to various sexual offences but it is a lot easier to accuse someone of sexual assault than it is homicide.

    Recently we had pictures and details of an ex school teacher splashed across the media when arrested on suspicion of murder. How easy will it be for him to resume his normal life now he has been formally cleared of any involvement? There are other similar cases.

    As for Ashley Cole – do we remember serial offender John Oster and Mark Maley? How about Dennis Wise, taxi drivers and Callum Davidson to name but two. Most of us in ordinary jobs would get our cards for similar behaviour but in the world of pro sport it seems you can get away with anything just about.

    So whilst I may have reservations about naming people accused of assaulting people I have lots of time for employers such as M. Jean-Claude Dassier for making a stand and telling those he pays what is not acceptable.

  4. Well when we have members of the Royal family taking 15k from a convicted paedophile to pay off his ex wife’s 50M debts (shouldn’t he have asked for more!) then it becomes difficult even to get worked up about Ashley Cole shooting someone with an air rifle. Not sure what the difference is between rape and say murder or acts of terrorism exactly Malcolm.

  5. But before we all get too sanctimonius don’t forget what happened to Titus Bramble earlier this season. I am as critical as anyone reagarding the excesses of the exorbitantly paid but I shall reiterate the point that I made at the time which is that double standards apply when those accused of rape can be named and shamed before any accusations have been proved.

    Of course in the case of a player who continually finds himself in breaches of club discipline and who consistently shows a lack of morality or even common sense then I’m all for managers and Chairmen speaking out against their own players. Can’t see it happening in this country, when Knights of the realm defend the thuggery of their players and common criminals are revered and able to command high fees and salaries.

  6. The chairman is clearly totally exasperated with this kid Salut. Before anyone comes on spouting off about being innocent until proven guilty, there’s clearly little room for doubt that the player’s lifestyle, including his choice of associates, the places he frequents have all played a part in these accusations being leveled at him. There’s a clear message, which is just don’t put yourself in situations that have the likelihood of getting you into trouble.

    He sounds like an angel compared to some of the t**** that we have in England though. Has Brandao shot anybody with an air gun yet Salut?

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