Football world in mourning after 'terrible' coronavirus tragedy

Former president of Marseille football club "l'Olympique de Marseille" Pape Diouf has died due to complications from Covid-19. (Getty Images)
Former president of Marseille football club "l'Olympique de Marseille" Pape Diouf has died due to complications from Covid-19. (Getty Images)

Former Marseille president Pape Diouf has died at age 68 due to complications from Covid-19.

Diouf had been hospitalised in his native Senegal and was placed under respiratory assistance on Saturday after his illness became serious.

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The Senegal native's relatives had hoped to transport him to France to receive further medical attention but he passed away before he was able to leave Dakar.

Diouf served as president of Ligue 1 club Marseille between 2005 and 2009, before he was succeeded by Jean-Claude Dassier.

During his time in charge, Marseille were a consistent presence near the top of the Ligue 1 table, though they never clinched a league title. Their highest finish during Diouf's presidency was second and their lowest was fifth.

Prior to his time in charge of the Ligue 1 side Diouf worked as a journalist, covering the exploits of Marseille's football team among other sports.

Eventually Diouf went into player representation, becoming an agent and further solidifying his relationship with Marseille.

Football world mourns

Diouf represented some major names in the football world as an agent, including Joseph-Antoine Bell, Marcel Desailly, Basile Boli, William Gallas, Samir Nasri and Didier Drogba.

His relationship with Marseille grew as players he represented, like Desailly, Gallas, Nasri and Drogba all played for the Ligue 1 side.

That eventually led to Diouf being named Marseille's president in January 2005, as the Senegalese took over for Christophe Bouchet.

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The football world paid their respects to Diouf after the tragic news.

Diouf's death is the latest blow to a football world that has been turned upside down as the coronavirus crisis spreads across the globe.

With Euro 2020 and the Olympics postponed by a year, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted last week that the current football season could be ruled void.

"If we don't succeed in restarting, the season will probably be lost," Ceferin told La Repubblica.

"There is a plan A, B and C. The three options are to start again in mid-May, in June or at the end of June.

"There is also the possibility of starting again at the beginning of the next [season], starting the following one later. We will see the best solution for leagues and clubs."

Though the summer is now open for leagues to play on, the trajectory of the virus is still unknown and it may not be plausible for leagues across Europe to finish their seasons.