Jean-Michel Aulas and Olympique Lyonnais, thirty-five years of history in five dates

► 1987: takeover of a club awash in debt

It was through Bernard Tapie that Jean-Michel Aulas became, in 1987, president of Olympique Lyonnais (OL) “to serve”. The club is overwhelmed by debts and the sporting results are more than disappointing. For four seasons, Les Gones have played in the second division.

The new president of OL has set an extremely ambitious goal for his club: European qualification from the third season. It will almost be done. Two years after being appointed head of the Rhone club, OL regained the championship in the first division. In 1991, the Lyon team qualified for the UEFA Cup.

► 2002: first title

With the club’s finances cleaned up, Jean-Michel Aulas is committed to making Lyon a reference in terms of management and is developing its training center, from which several international players will emerge, such as Hatem Ben Arfa, Sidney Govou, Karim Benzem, etc.

An investment from Pathé then allowed him to generate more profits, which he used to recruit star striker Sonny Anderson. The Lyon club won the title of champion of France in 2002, the first of a long series.

► Until 2008: the golden age

For seven years, OL reigned supreme over French football. Thanks to a solid squad made up of players such as Juninho, Cris, Éric Abidal, Florent Malouda, Sylvain Wiltord and Grégory Coupet, Lyon does not leave a crumb to its opponents. Les Gones have won seven consecutive titles, a record that even the Qatari version of PSG has failed to match. Jean-Michel Aulas does not however manage to cross the European course: Lyon never exceeds the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

► 2011: consecration for the women’s team

After the 2007-2008 season, several regular players left the club, like Juninho and Karim Benzema. The following season marked the beginning of OL’s decline: Lyon ended the 2008-2009 financial year without any title added to the list, a first for almost ten years. Without being bad, the following seasons saw the Rhone club regularly stagnate at the foot of the podium. Only ray of sunshine, a qualification in the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2010, after eliminating Real Madrid.

However, the club president finds success through the women’s team. Created in 2004, the success of the Lyon team owes a lot to Jean-Michel Aulas. “Initially, it was not a financial investment. It was more of a social investment.”, he says today. In 2011, his team managed to climb to the top of Europe by lifting the Champions League trophy. Since then, the Lyonnaises have won the trophy on seven other occasions.

► 2022: Takeover by the American John Textor

In 2022, the club is bought by American billionaire John Textor, who has already invested in several football teams in Brazil, England and Belgium. The objective of the latter is to invest more in Olympique Lyonnais to attract better players on the transfer market, thus putting an end to the strategy employed for several years by betting on the training center. Once the sale has taken place, Jean-Michel Aulas should remain at the head of OL for another three years, before finally handing over control.



Tour de France: Michael Matthews wins the 14th stage

Two days the same scenario. Like the previous one, the 14e stage of the Tour de France between Saint-Étienne and Mende returned to the strongest of the breakaway. Present throughout the afternoon at the heart of a breakaway of 23 riders, Michael Matthews quickly appeared as the strongest of the group.

50 km from the finish, it was the Australian who accelerated to create a quartet in the lead. At the foot of the Côte de la Croix-Neuve, the last difficulty (2.9 km at more than 10%) and judge of the peace of the stage, it was he again who let go of his companions. The Italian Alberto Bettiol joined him well in the “Jalabert climb”, and even a time slightly behind. But with a final thrust, Michael Matthews got the better of his competitor, and won alone at the Mende aerodrome.

New duel between Pogacar and Vingegaard

Finishing more than twelve minutes behind him, the favorites of the Tour also explained themselves in the Côte de la Croix-Neuve. Already turbulent at the start of the stage, the second overall and double title holder Tadej Pogacar did not manage to get away from the yellow jersey Jonas Vingegaard; the two taking a little more distance from the other leaders.

In the general classification, Louis Meintjes, the best ranked of the 23 breakaways, achieved the breakthrough of the day. The South African passes from the 13e at the 7e place, now less than five minutes behind Jonas Vingegaard. The Dane still dominates two former Tour winners, Tadej Pogacar and Geraint Thomas, by more than two minutes.

Calvary by Caleb Ewan

The French Romain Bardet (4e) and David Gaudu (8e) are firmly in the top-10, more than four minutes away. The green jersey seems definitively acquired by the Belgian Wout Van Aert, more precarious, the polka dot tunic remains on the German Simon Geschke.

Far, very far from the breakaway and even from the whole peloton, Caleb Ewan crossed the line more than 39 minutes behind Michael Matthews. The pocket sprinter, winner of five stages in the Tour de France, was unclamped from the first kilometers, in pain after his fall on Friday in a bend. Alone and without the help of three team members, who volunteered to accompany him for a good part of the 192 km of the day, the Australian would not even have reached the finish on time on Saturday.



Football: Michel Platini and Sepp Blatter acquitted in Switzerland

Michel Platini and the former president of the International Football Federation (Fifa), the Swiss Sepp Blatter, were acquitted on Friday July 8 in Switzerland in the fraud case which in 2015 shattered the Frenchman’s ambitions to access at the helm of world football.

The Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona did not follow the requisitions of the prosecution, which had requested in mid-June respectively one year and eight months of suspended prison sentence, while the two former leaders proclaimed their innocence. The court ultimately found that the scam was not “not established with a likelihood bordering on certainty”thus applying the general principle of criminal law that “doubt must benefit the accused”.

For two weeks, the 67-year-old Frenchman and the 86-year-old Swiss had appeared to have “illegally obtained, to the detriment of Fifa, a payment of 2 million Swiss francs (1.8 million euros) (…) in favor of Michel Platini”. “A neutral court has finally found that no crime was committed in this case. My client is completely cleared and relieved”commented M.e Dominic Nellen, Michel Platini’s lawyer.

For his part, the ex-captain of the Blues rejoiced in a short press release to have “won a first match”while once again alluding to a political and judicial manipulation intended to remove him from power: “In this case, there are culprits who did not appear during this trial. Let them count on me, we will meet again”.

Michel Platini suspects in particular a hidden role of Gianni Infantino, his former right-hand man at UEFA elected in 2016 at the head of Fifa, and targeted since 2020 by a separate procedure for three secret meetings with the former head of the Swiss prosecution. .

An oral agreement without witness

Defense and prosecution agreed on one point: the triple Ballon d’Or advised Sepp Blatter well between 1998 and 2002, during the latter’s first term at the head of Fifa, and the two men signed a contract in 1999 agreeing to an annual remuneration of 300,000 Swiss francs, entirely paid by Fifa.

But in January 2011, the former midfielder (who in the meantime became UEFA president between 2007 and 2015) “enforced a claim of 2 million Swiss francs”qualified as “false invoice” by the prosecution. The two men insist on their side that they had from the start decided on an annual salary of one million Swiss francs, by a “gentlemen’s agreement” orally and without witnesses, without the finances of Fifa allowing immediate payment to Michel Platini.