The passage in front of the DNCG this Tuesday afternoon closed for the Girondins de Bordeaux a sequence of two months very eventful on the extra sporting level! A sequence where the club quite simply almost disappeared after the decision of the financial policeman of French football to demote it to National 1, twice, at first instance and then on appeal. Finally drafted in extremis in Ligue 2 thanks to the approval of the Commercial Court of Bordeaux, the CNOSF and the FFF, the Girondins de Bordeaux came close to correctional. And they went through all the states.
In the short term, Bordeaux supporters can breathe and above all concentrate on the pitch: “Place for sports”, ton, for several days, Gérard Lopez, the owner and president of Marine et Blanc. It was time. But before going completely to the sporting chapter with in particular the transfer window, France Bleu Gironde invites you to come back behind the scenes of this second rescue of the Girondins, in the space of a year.
The day management understood that it would be very complicated
Some had understood, from the start, that it would be an obstacle course, after the sporting relegation of the club to Ligue 2. And on June 14 during the first passage in front of the DNCG, everyone became aware of it. Beyond the very complicated hearing experienced by the Bordeaux delegation, the hostility of the opponents of the day and above all the unauthorized presence of a member of the body, a fine connoisseur of the club, did not bode well for the following. This person who does not hesitate to “destroy” the Bordeaux file while leaking false information to the press on the events of the day. His behavior will also earn him a little call to order from the boss of the DNCG. The management of the Girondins has confirmed that some members of the club have been playing against them for several months already.
“On the one hand, we were naive and we didn’t have much up our sleeve; and on the other hand, we quickly felt that the file would not only be financial and that we would be let absolutely nothing go by”, says someone close to the case.
Behind the scenes, some hope, in fact, to see the club file for bankruptcy to resume it in National 3. Files are almost already tied up. Moreover, during the two months, several leaks will challenge the club’s management to the point that an email will be sent by Gérard Lopez to the members of the board of directors to remind them that they are subject to a confidentiality clause. This most unhealthy atmosphere within the Girondins themselves will not remain without a future.
According to our information, the structure of the club should change quickly. Gérard Lopez recently mentioned the establishment, for example, of a strategic council. The option of a management board, headed by the Spanish-Luxembourgish businessman and one or two relatives, accompanied by a supervisory board, is also on the table. On the other hand, the hypothesis of the appointment of a deputy president took the lead in the wing: “The boss is the one who puts the money in, why would that change?”, repeats the entourage of the president of the Girondins de Bordeaux.
The day Fortress tried to dismiss Gérard Lopez
It was on a weekend in June. The tension is then very strong between Gérard Lopez and his creditors, the American investment funds, Fortress and King Street. The latter simply decide to “trade” the debt of the Girondins in “distress”. That is to say, to put it in the public square, and basically, to give it to the first who comes with a minimum of money on the table. The Americans just offer Gérard Lopez to recover his starting bet, ie 10 million euros, and a percentage of the value of the club if it is sold.
According to France Bleu Gironde, two American businessmen working with investment funds are showing interest. One of them is co-owner of an NBA franchise and a good European soccer club. They get in touch with Gérard Lopez who of course does not welcome them with open arms. Eventually, Fortress’ attempt quickly fails: “It couldn’t do it, the timing was impossible. This attempt was too late and above all disorganized.” GL wins this first hot moment, as negotiations continue to reduce the debt and the DNCG appeal commission approaches.
The day Gérard Lopez went all-in
“All in” as poker players say. This is what the Hispano-Luxembourgish businessman decided to do between the decision on appeal of the DNCG and the CNOSF! A huge bluff where he told the two investment funds that he was simply going to crash everything and withdraw his balls from the deal if they did not make a major effort on the debt to save the club. “We had to get into them”, retorts someone close to GL. As revealed by L’Equipe, Gérard Lopez is simply threatening his creditors to put the club in compulsory liquidation. And bye bye the 53 million euros in debt for the Americans.
This very risky blow, Gérard Lopez assumes it today, saying that he knew very well that Fortress and King were going to end up letting go. After three days of tension, this is what will happen. The investment funds will agree to reduce the debt by 75%, in particular by purely and simply abandoning half of it. The other part is restructured. And in the end, the club’s financial debt is now only 8 million euros thanks to the recent transfer of Jules Koundé to Barça.
But beware, this extraordinary effort by investment funds should not remain without a future. They do not intend to sit like that on 26 million euros. According to several sources across the Atlantic, the councils of Fortress and King Street but also those of the club are considering taking legal action against the DNCG for interference and in order to obtain compensation for the consequences of the decisions taken which would lead to significant capital losses during this transfer window. Several French clubs could be added to the file.
The day when Nasser al-Khelaïfi offers to speak
In French football, it is well known Gérard Lopez has few friends, and therefore a lot of enemies. “Frankly, we have had very little support in recent weeks. We have even taken huge shots from former players. I admit that it was not easy for the days”, regrets the entourage of the president of the Girondins. In the midst of this ambient hostility, a man offered to step out of line, and not just anyone: Nasser al-Khelaïfi, the president of Paris-Saint-Germain. The Qatari leader was ready to speak publicly in the media to support the Spanish-Luxembourg businessman.
Another stayed behind but he was one of the few “not to break Lopez” in the French courts. This is Jean-Michel Aulas, the president of OL. “He wasn’t with his ‘long live Gérard Lopez’ banner either, but at least he wasn’t against us, on the contrary even!”, explains a witness to the negotiations of the last few weeks.