The Club

A Legend is born

Olympique de Marseille is officially recognized on August 31, 1899 by prefectural decree and then in general assembly on January 8, 1900. But we must go back a few years to find the true genesis of the Olympique de Marseille.


The 1890s were marked by a strong infatuation with sport. To follow and maintain this dynamic, clubs, almost all sporting clubs, were created. Most clubs had a relatively short period of existence but were reborn a few years later, with the same name but new leaders or with the same leadership but under a new name.


Olympique de Marseille was born from the overhaul of a club: the Football Club of Marseille. FCM was the result of a merger between student clubs from the Lycée de Marseille and Collège Saint-Ignace, accompanied by a few Fol Club alumni. Football Club de Marseille had about 30 members when it debuted and it practiced swimming, rowing, tennis, cycling, cricket, track and field athletics, and rugby. Athletics and rugby were the two main sports of FCM.


But in 1899 and after two years of existence, the Football Club of Marseille decided it was time for a facelift, merging with the fencing club L'Epée to create a new club: Olympique de Marseille. The statutes of the new club were accepted in August 1899 by prefectural decree.




FCM was replaced by Olympique de Marseille at the end of 1899. Before OM took its place, the association registered three new sports sections in its operation: fencing, boxing and football. The Football Club de Marseille also decided to move its headquarters from Place Castellane to Rue Saint-Suffren, the location of L'Épe. FCM has excellent infrastructure for a Marseille multi-sports club with the Parc Borély and two rooms with dressing rooms and showers at rue Saint-Suffren. The Football Club de Marseille appears for the last time in December 1899 in a match against Sporting Club of Marseille. The final meeting was punctuated by a 2-0 victory by FCM despite its lack of experience.


Subsequently, a general assembly meeting held on January 8, 1900, ratified the statutes of Olympique de Marseille and gave the green light to the new club -- one intended for football, fencing, tennis, swimming, athletics, boxing, rowing, cricket, tennis, cycling, basketball, and automobile racing...


To be an OM member, some conditions were necessary: 15-year-old minimum and to be presented by two references. The entry fee to OM was then five francs, which equals 76 cents today and three francs a month, or 46 cents, except for wrestlers and boxers who paid a rather large supplement to cover the costs of the room. Club athletes wore white jerseys marked with two blue letters "O" and "M" and black shorts, except for tennis players and cricketers who are obliged to wear white shirt and pants.


Football Club de Marseille’s rugby club, founded in 1897, bequeaths its motto to OM. The motto of Olympique de Marseille was then "Right to the Goal" and it appears as early as 1899 on the emblem of the club. It still is the motto today. It is characterized by a pronounced taste for the club’s love of offense. The motto was developed by René Dufaure de Montmirail's fiancee, Madeleine, who was described as a very active woman.


The word "Olympic", present in the name of the club, is attached to the Mt. Olympus -- referring to the Greek roots of the Phocaean city. It also is a term that covered each of the sports the club hosted.


OM, chaired by René Dufaure de Montmirail, had two vice-presidents, A. Bideleux and Liotier, as well as a secretary and a treasurer: L. Devaux and F. Durst. The leaders were all former member of FCM Steering Committee.


Olympique de Marseille had big names like Gilly, who won running titles in 1899. Two very good rugby players, Fernand Bouisson and Harry Baur, also were on OM teams.


In football, Olympique de Marseille won the 1899-1900 coastal championship for its first participation. A legendary club was born ...