Former Marseille president Bernard Tapie has revealed he conspired to portray Abedi Pele as HIV positive to sign him in 1987.
Pele was a member of French club Mulhouse at the time and was subject to transfer interest from Marseille and rival club Monaco.
In order to gain a leg up, prior to the player taking a medical with Monaco, Tapie helped concoct a lie that Pele had the virus that leads to AIDS.
“I told the player (Pele) that when he arrives at Monaco for the medical examination, he will be asked to take a blood test which is done for African players but that he should not agree, that he should tell them he cannot support the blood test," Tapie told Le Monde.
"At the same time I conspired with an employee at AS Monaco who was a known figure within the club and instructed him to fabricate a falsehood that the player was HIV positive.
"You know we escaped beautifully and the plan worked well. He told me 'We (Monaco) didn’t take Pele because he is HIV positive.'”
The Ghanaian eventually signed with Marseille, and helped the club lift the European Cup in 1993, although they were subsequently enveloped in a match-fixing scandal that saw the president spend time in jail.
“Its like that, you have to win," Tapie said.