U.S. owners pull investment; Ligue 1 club on brink

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Ligue 1 club Bordeaux have been placed in administration after their American-based owners King Street said they no longer wished to support the club financially.

The former French champions have been struggling financially due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the premature end to the 2019-20 season also resulted in a loss of income when the league season was cancelled.

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Bordeaux said club president Frederic Longuepee turned to the commercial court for security while “a lasting solution” is found.

The club’s problems were compounded when Spanish media rights agency Mediapro, which had won TV rights for a record €780 million ($936.23m) per season over the 2020-24 period, went bankrupt and missed payments last year.

A club statement on Thursday read: “The economic context linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and Mediapro’s withdrawal has caused an unprecedented drop in revenues for French football clubs.

“These events are in addition to the financial consequences that already hit clubs hard last season when the championship ended and the loss of income that ensued.

“These circumstances led the president to protect the club by placing it under the protection of the Bordeaux Commercial Court. An ad hoc representative has been appointed, he will be responsible for assisting Bordeaux in their search for a lasting solution.”

Bordeaux are in a relegation fight after a disappointing campaign. Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP via Getty Images

King Street took over the southwestern club in December 2019 and has invested €46m ($53m) since.

Bordeaux were a standout club in the 1980s, winning four French leagues. The most recent of their six titles came in the 2008-09 campaign.

Former Arsenal and France defender Laurent Koscielny is the club captain and they also boast former Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa.

Bordeaux are 16th in the league table this season, only five points above the relegation zone with five matches remaining.

Bordeaux mayor Pierre Hurmic expressed his frustration at King Street’s decision.

“Unfortunately it’s not a great surprise for me,” Hurmic said in a statement. “From the outset the takeover of the club, which I voted against in 2018, did not seem to ensure durability.

“That seems to have been confirmed now. A page must to be turned. Everything has to be done to find a solution that ensures the longevity of the club.”

However, club president Longuepee is unpopular among supporters and the Ultramarines 1987 — an influential and long-standing fan group — demanded his “immediate departure” on their Twitter page.

Information from Associated Press was included in this report.



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