Historic evening for the Lille Olympique Sporting Club (Losc). Fifteen years after its first qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions League, Lille has once again validated its ticket for the final phase of the most prestigious of European competitions, even finishing first in its group. A memorable success, obtained on the lawn of the Germans in Wolfsburg thanks to goals from Burak Yilmaz, Jonathan David and Angel Gomes (3-1 final score). Remarkable from a sporting point of view, the qualification is also an excellent operation at the accounting level.
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By moving on to the next round, Losc will receive a bonus of 9.5 million euros, granted by UEFA, the organizer of the competition. And the benefits do not end there: each victory brought in 2.7 million euros for the Mastiffs and each draw, 900,000 €, for a total of 9.9 million euros (three wins and two draws ). We must also add to this the revenue from the ticket office during the three matches played at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium, valued at 3.6 million euros according to the newspaper.The team. In total, qualification will therefore bring in between 20 and 23 million euros at Losc.
This tidy sum offers a precious breath of fresh air to the northern club, facing major financial difficulties. “We must not forget that Losc was on the verge of going bankrupt a year ago”, recalls Mickael Terrien, professor of sports economics at the University of Lausanne. Last January, President Olivier Létang declared that the club’s debt stood at 159 million euros.
“Trading” and debt
According to the researcher, these difficulties find their source in the economic model imposed by Gérard Lopez, the previous majority shareholder of the club: “In 2017, Gérard Lopez bought the club by going into debt with investment funds, in particular Elliott. The idea was to buy young players with high potential to sell them more quickly: this is called “Trading”. “
However, the Losc did not receive all of the money from these sales. “The system was made in such a way that most of the allowances went to agents and other intermediaries”, specifies Mickael Terrien. The money from the transfers therefore did not make it possible to repay a debt which continued to grow … until the creditors asked to recover their stake and push Gérard Lopez towards the exit for the benefit of Olivier Létang, in December 2020.
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Since then, LOSC’s financial situation has improved but remains precarious. This summer, the club reduced its payroll by 12 million euros following the departure of seventeen players. The Lille qualification will allow the club to continue to clean up its accounts. “Qualification can bring significant indirect gains by increasing the market value of some players”, adds Mickael Terrien. Other departures are also expected this winter: Jonathan Ikoné is announced at Fiorentina while the name of Renato Sanches returns with insistence on the side of AC Milan.