Attention, monument of football in danger. To date, the Girondins de Bordeaux are administratively relegated to Ligue 2 because of finances in the red. Unless Gérard Lopez proves this Monday to the DNCG (national control and management department), the gendarme of French football, that he is able to absorb the club’s deficit, estimated between 55 and 80 million euros, condition of its maintenance in the elite.
→ CONTEXT. Football: King Street announces that he no longer wishes to “finance” the Girondins de Bordeaux
The Spanish-Luxembourgish businessman is the only takeover candidate selected by the current owner, King Street. After having financed in 2018 the buyout of the Girondins from M6 by the investment fund GACP, which became sole master on board in 2019, the American announced last April his withdrawal from the club, refusing to hand over to ensure the survival of the club.
A model that does not pack
Friday July 9, Gérard Lopez, former owner of LOSC (the Lille club), overcame a first test: the Bordeaux Métropole council validated its letter of guarantee according to which the Girondins, even in the event of default or demotion, would pay the approximately 5 million euros in annual rent paid to the community to be able to play at Matmut Atlantique, the large stadium belonging to Bordeaux Métropole.
The economic model advocated by Gérard Lopez – based on the sale of young players trained at the club or detected upstream, and indebtedness -, however, does not thrill many Bordeaux elected officials, noting that justice was interested in transfers made by the former president of Lille. “But there is no alternative”, believes Alain Anziani, president of Bordeaux Métropole: “Either I trust Mr. Lopez, or I press a little red button and there are no more Girondins; we would then lose 5 million revenue, and it would be a financial earthquake. “
Turn the page of “foot business”
The Matmut stadium, which can accommodate 44,000 spectators, was built for Euro 2016 in a public-private partnership by Vinci and Fayat, who operate it through their SBA consortium. But to finance it, the town hall of Bordeaux borrowed nearly 100 million euros. The debt was then transferred to the metropolis, and its repayment costs it 4 million per year.
A “Decisive argument” for Pierre Hurmic: “If Mr. Lopez is not chosen and the team ends up in D2 or D3, we no longer have a tenant for the Matmut and it is the taxpayer who will pay the rent for the too large stadium. “ The ecological mayor of Bordeaux, however, dreamed of turning the page on “football business”. Candidate for mayor, he also promised to sell this great stadium, against which he had protested when he was in the opposition. But no Gulf emir or Russian oligarch has come forward, and Gérard Lopez does not want to buy him back.
A sword of Damocles for public finances
The Matmut is a real sword of Damocles for public finances, especially if SBA files for bankruptcy. The stadium operator loses 2 to 3 million euros per year, for lack of revenue from events – few concerts have been held in 5 years – and “naming” – the “rental” of the name of the stadium. to Mamut brings in half as much as initially hoped.
SBA failing, Bordeaux Métropole would be obliged to resume the operation of the stadium under direct control without the annual fee of 4.6 million euros from SBA and with the resumption of staff … A time bomb which elected officials hope to avoid the explosion with an agreement between Vinci-Fayat and Gérard Lopez, who thinks they can generate more profits from the operation of the stadium.
The businessman would still have to pass a final obstacle next week: the validation of his project by the Bordeaux commercial court, which holds the fate of the Girondins in its hands: if he does not deem it viable. , he could pronounce the liquidation of the club, and the end of his professional team.