The Girondins of Bordeaux are not yet saved from the waters. But this Friday, at D-4 of their passage in front of the DNCG Appeal Committee of the FFF, they have just taken a decisive first step for their survival. According to information from 20 minutes, Gerard Lopez, the owner and president of the club, has reached a new agreement with its creditors, the American investment funds Fortress and King Street, on its business plan for Ligue 2. As a reminder, the first version of this was challenged on June 14 by the financial policeman of French football, who consequently administratively demoted the Navy and White to National.
With this new agreement, the Spanish-Luxembourgish businessman now hopes to get the green light from the authorities next Tuesday to finally allow the club to officially return to Ligue 2 after its sporting relegation a few weeks ago. One thing is certain: Gérard Lopez will not be able to get better than this “deal”, given the heated discussions he has been having with his lenders for three weeks. This is his last cartridge. “It was a real standoff and even sometimes torture, but the agreement is there and it responds, for us, to all the requests of the DNCG”, confides his entourage.
The transfer of part of the debt effective and validated by an auditor
Gérard Lopez and Malik Suvin, the vice-president of Fortress in charge of the file on the American side, ended up typing in the hand this Friday afternoon. They didn’t really have a choice, if next week they don’t want to both be held responsible for the demise of one of the biggest clubs in French football. The DNCG had therefore asked them to review their copy on three points: reduce the club’s debt ratio, review the destination of the money on the incentive transfers of Aurélien Tchouaméni and Jules Koundé, and finally, provide guarantee to cover future sales of the summer transfer window (22 million euros) which should make it possible to partially plug the hole of 40 million euros in the club’s coffers.
On the first point, it was necessary above all to clarify things and to comply with the authorities. The club had indeed announced in recent weeks a halving of its financial debt (from 52 to 26.5 million euros) thanks to a transfer of ownership of part of it to one of Gérard Lopez’s companies. and its associates. This operation is now effective, unlike last June 14, and has even been validated by an auditor. Same thing for the 10 million euros that the businessman will put back in his pocket to try to save the club during this off-season.
Fortress agrees to open a new bond line of credit of 14 million euros
On the second point, Fortress and King Street quickly agreed to review their starting position. Initially, the profit-sharing money on the transfer of Aurélien Tchouaméni from Monaco to Real Madrid (8 to 11 million for the Girondins) and on that probable of Jules Koundé this summer was to go directly to them, according to the ” deal” passed with Gérard Lopez at the time of the acquisition of the Girondins a year ago. But on June 14, the DNCG simply vetoed such an agreement.
For the authority, this money must go in priority in the accounts of the club to enable him to help it to plug the hole of 40 million euros, while reducing the sum of the sales of players to be carried out this summer (from 22 to 14 million euros). The two funds ended up saying yes to this injunction. Small clarification, if sales exceed 14 million euros this summer, the proceeds of these sales will be shared between the club and the creditors to reconcile the interests of each: to allow the club to prepare for its season by recruiting and to start repaying debt parallel to Fortress and King Street.
The last point remains. The one who has crystallized the tensions during many meetings in recent days. Why ? Because Gérard Lopez and his creditors have long returned the hot potato on who should vouch for the future sales of players this summer. But also because, contrary to previous years, the DNCG no longer wants a simple letter of guarantee, as Fortress and King Street have already done in the past without ultimately ever respecting them. No, the members of the financial gendarme now want to see the cash before validating the Bordeaux file. That is to say that Gérard Lopez had to fight to obtain the opening of a new bond line of credit of 14 million euros from Fortress to cover summer sales, according to information from 20 minutes. Here too, the fund ended up saying yes. Now, it remains to obtain that of the DNCG… The most important of all.
Do some play against the club within the Girondins themselves?
This is one of the big questions that Gérard Lopez and his entourage have been asking themselves in recent weeks. In a heavy context for everyone due to the vagueness surrounding the future of the club, the businessman would be surprised and annoyed by the numerous leaks in the press, in particular about confidential information on the health of the club.
According to our information, the owner and president of the Girondins has even recently reframed the members of the board of directors on this subject. Do some hope to recover the club in place of Lopez? The question remains!
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