Marseille are set to announce that they have resolved the dispute over rent that was forcing them to look for alternative venues for this season’s home matches, according to L’Equipe.
The club had been part of a standoff with the local authorities, who own the Stade Velodrome, about an increase in rent for this season that according to the club, would leave it with no finances. The stadium has been renovated over the summer to prepare for the European Championships in 2016 where the stadium will be one of the major venues of the tournament.
The club announced last week that they would not be playing their first scheduled home game of the season on the 17th of August at the Stade Velodrome, instead travelling to play their opponents Montpellier at the stadium, over two hours away.
Marseille apologised to its fans for the inconvenience but laid the blame with the local authorities and their high expectation of rent that they would receive. The authorities were believed to have been expecting €380,000-per-game as well as a share of the gate receipts. This means the club would be expected to pay at least €7.2 million to stay in the stadium for the season.
On the pitch, Marseille have had a decent pre-season, beating Bayer Leverkusen 4-0, Benfica 2-1 and Willem II of Holland 5-0. They were held to a 1-1 draw against Bari and are due to face Italian side Chievo on Saturday. However, despite the draw with Bari, who are in the second tier of Italian football, new signing Michy Batshuayi is providing glimpses of promise when others are struggling around him. He scored his fourth goal of Marseille’s pre-season, levelling the game with ten minutes left.
The 20-year-old moved from Belgian side Standard Liege earlier in the summer after being with the club since 2008, moving to the first team in 2011. He has also made 11 appearances for Belgium’s under 21 side.
Marseille will be hoping that he will be able to show the same appetite for goal as he did in Belgium, scoring 39 goals whilst at Standard Liege.
The French side will be hoping that he will be able to fire them back into European competitions after failing to qualify for both the Champions League and Europa League after their sixth place finish last season. The south France kick off their season’s campaign away at Bastia next weekend.