Medium-length hair, salt and pepper beard, black suit and white shirt, here is the new face of the presidency of the Professional Football League (LFP). True outsider of the ballot, Vincent Labrune topped the post the big favorite Michel Denisot (former president of PSG and Châteauroux) and more widely ahead of Gervais Martel (former emblematic president of RC Lens) and Alain Guerrini (president of Panini France). The former president of Olympique de Marseille therefore takes the head of the LFP at 49, with the challenge of meeting the body which is experiencing complicated times in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
From the small screen to the round ball
Before making himself known to the general public, Vincent Labrune – holder of a DEA in international economics and development finance – studied in the world of the small screen. Freshly graduated, he landed at only 23 years old a position of information communication manager at France Télévisions alongside Patrick Chêne and Daniel Bilalian. Then, press attaché for the sports department of France 2, the Orléanais became a few years later the communications director of Jean-Luc Delarue’s production company, Reservoir Prod. Finally, Vincent Labrune befriends the former vice-president of TF1 Étienne Mougeotte and is appointed adviser to the latter.
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Through the late presenter of It is discussed, he met Robert Louis-Dreyfus (former majority shareholder of Olympique de Marseille) in 2003, thanks to a common passion: boxing. Labrune then becomes the communications advisor and spokesperson for the Swiss businessman. He is also a strong support for the businessman during the question of OM’s questionable transfers. Blindly trusting the native of Orleans, RLD entrusted him in 2008 with the keys to his holding company Éric Soccer, a company that owned 100% of the Marseille club, and appointed him chairman of the club’s supervisory board. He will also be a staunch friend during his battle with leukemia. On the death of Louis-Dreyfus in 2009, Labrune became the eminence of his widow, Margarita, then president of the Olympique de Marseille, of which she is the shareholder.
Dark Marseille years
Begun on June 9, 2011, Vincent Labrune’s mandate succeeds that of Jean-Claude Dassier and will have lasted for a five-year term. Five long years for the Marseille club and its supporters who have chained hard knocks and bad results under his leadership. On the sporting side, the native of Orléans can only boast of having won a League Cup and qualified his club in the Champions League (thanks to the second place of Élie Baup). But OM also signed in the wake of the worst record in French football in Europe by chaining six defeats in the group stage in a group made up of Arsenal, Dortmund and Naples. Overall, his passage on the Canebière was a failure sprinkled with difficult and conflicting relations with the Marseille supporters. He then left the club in 2016.
Only a few weeks after being dismissed from the presidency of OM by Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, Vincent Labrune joined the board of directors of the LFP for four years and more precisely the college of independents, from which the president of the League came. . The native of Orleans finds there the representatives of L1 and L2, among whom some supporters (Bernard Caïazzo, Laurent Nicollin, Bernard Joannin) and some enemies (Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, Jean-Michel Aulas). Finally in 2018, he joined the executive committee of Moma Group, one of the giants of French events.
An unexpected return to the fore
When Nathalie Boy de La Tour announces that she does not want to run for a second term at the head of the Professional Football League, Vincent Labrune then decides to run for him. Opposed to Michel Denisot, Gervais Martel and Alain Guerrini, the outsider of the ballot was elected president of the LFP by 15 votes against 10 for the former president of Paris Saint-Germain. Didier Quillot, current executive director general of the Professional Football League, little appreciated by some influential leaders of Ligue 1, but supported by a “silent majority” which is grateful to him for having negotiated and signed the mega-contract to broadcast the matches of L1 with Mediapro (Téléfoot) caused trouble by suggesting that he could leave his post.
During the next four years, Vincent Labrune will therefore have the heavy task of meeting the body which is experiencing complicated times. The first mission of the new president will be to rework the players in French football, who have largely scrambled during the coronavirus crisis. Then, the clubs will have to agree on a new governance model which should lead to a modification of the statutes. The objective is to simplify the current organization and the decision-making circuits. Finally, Vincent Labrune will have to manage the thorny issue of the creation of a commercial company, demanded by the big clubs in Ligue 1 in order to manage their income. Many challenges, for a mandate that promises to be lively.