Football: Foreign investors attack French clubs

With the prospect of American John Textor, who entered into “exclusive negotiations” on Monday, taking control of Olympique Lyonnais, the list of French pro clubs owned by foreign investors should grow slightly longer, with a dozen clubs in Ligue 1 involved. .

† The L1, between funds and billionaires

+ Auxerre

In October 2016, Chinese businessman and billionaire James Zhou became the new owner and majority shareholder of the club. AJA will be back in L1 in August.

+ Clermont

Swiss Ahmet Schäfer took over the chairmanship of the Auvergne club in March 2019. Clermont moved up to L1 for the first time in its fledgling history in the summer of 2021 and remained there at the end of the 2021 2022 season.

+ Lille

Losc was acquired in December 2020 by the Luxembourg investment fund Merlyn Partners. After the good sporting choices of the Lopez era (2017-2020), Lille was crowned champion of France 2021.

+ Lyon

OL announced Monday that it had entered into “exclusive negotiations” with a view to acquiring a majority stake in the Eagle Football Holdings group, belonging to American John Textor, which already owns several football clubs. President Jean-Michel Aulas and the club’s current management team would stay on after the transaction, the two sides have clarified.

+ Fun

OGC Nice was bought in the summer of 2019 by British group Ineos, a flagship of the oil industry already known for its cycling activities and led by British tycoon Jim Ratcliffe.

+ Paris SG

The club was bought in the summer of 2011 by the state fund QSI (Qatar Sports Investment), which invested heavily to make PSG a European stronghold, with eight French championship titles over the period and a contested Champions League final (2020).

+ Marseille

American billionaire Frank McCourt bought Olympique de Marseille in late August 2016, but is still waiting for its first trophy, including a lost Europa League final in 2018.

+ Monaco

Russian oligarch Dmitri Rybolovlev took the helm of Monaco in late 2011. Under his tenure, ASM was crowned French champions in 2017 and played in the semi-finals of the Champions League that year.

+ Troy

In September 2020, Estac was bought by the Emirati company City Football Group, which owns a dozen clubs, including Manchester City. Troyes moved on to L1 in the summer of 2021 and remained there at the end of the 2021/2022 season.

+ Toulouse

At the end of July 2020, the American fund RedBird Capital Partners bought 85% of the club’s shares, before celebrating the emergence of “Téfécé” in Ligue 1 for the coming season.

† The L2, an opportunity for investors

+ Burgundy

Spanish-Luxembourg businessman Gerard Lopez, former boss of Lille, took control of the Girondins in the summer of 2021 after negotiations with the American fund King Street, shareholder of the club between 2018 and 2021.

Bordeaux, sportingly relegated to Ligue 2 at the end of the season that has just ended, has been administratively relegated to National (3rd division) for budgetary reasons by the DNCG, financial police officer of French football. The club immediately appealed this decision.

+ Caen

The American investment fund Oaktree and the French producer Pierre-Antoine Capton bought 100% of the club shares in September 2020.

+ Le Havre

American businessman Vincent Volpe became chairman and 90% shareholder of the club in 2015.

+ Sochaux

In the summer of 2015, the club moved under the Chinese flag, bought by Ledus, a subsidiary of Tech Pro Technology in Hong Kong. In April 2020, the Chinese real estate group Nenking became the official owner, replacing Ledus.

† Appetite to the National

+ Chateauroux:

Saudi Prince Abdallah ben Moussaed and his United World Group bought the Berry club in March 2021, then a red lantern in Ligue 2. Châteauroux finished 5th in National in 2022.


In early 2021, AS Nancy Lorraine came under the control of the Partners Path Capital group of investors, including Chinese-American Chien Lee, a former shareholder of Nice. In May 2022, the Lorraine club was relegated to National for the first time in its history.

+ Red Star: club Ile-de-France was sold 100% to the American investment fund 777 Partners in May 2022, for a sum of 15 million euros, according to a source close to the club, despite opposition from the supporters and some political figures .

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