Ajaccio president manages club from Nicaragua

Ajaccio, Paris Saint-Germain’s opponents tonight, are all but certain of being relegated at the end of the season, sitting 11 points adrift with four games to go.

As they prepare to see their fate sealed at the Parc des Princes tonight, their long-time president, Alain Orsoni, will be watching from a distance – over 9,500km away, to be precise. 

A former leader for the Corsican nationalist cause, Orsoni spoke to Le Parisien in the build-up to the game, explains that he lives in Managua, the Central American country’s capital, “for personal and professional reasons”. He had returned to Corsica in 2008 to take charge of the club until 2015, and was the target of an assassination attempt the same year. In 2022, after the club’s promotion back to Ligue 1, he returned to the presidency – having until then been the president of the supervisory board – when Christian Leca stepped down. He totals 31 years at the club.

He explains that he is in regular contact with manager Olivier Pantaloni and Sporting Coordinator, Johan Cavalli, and returns to the island “five or six times a year”. He watches games from the distance, but with the same fervour as a match-going fan – “I’ve already broken iPads while watching games!”. 

Orsoni, in the same vein as former Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, interacts with fans on social media, and has lamented what he sees as an increasingly financially “closedoff” top flight which looks to exclude small towns – including that of the Corsican capital, which hosts Ligue 1’s smallest budget. “That’s not how I see sport, we are small and we will stay that way. But we’re going to use this season, and draw conclusions to try and go back up in two, three years’ time”. Whether that will be with the 69-year-old still at the helm, though, remains to be seen.

GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin 

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