the Girondins de Bordeaux close to relegation at amateur level

The Girondins de Bordeaux continue their descent to hell. A month and a half after the relegation from Ligue 1 to Ligue 2 – the first in thirty-one years – the football club experienced another shock on Tuesday 5 July: the appeals committee of the National Directorate of Control de gestion (DNCG), the financial police officer of French football , has confirmed his administrative relegation to National 1, the Third Division (amateur level).

This relegation was pronounced on 14 June by the DNCG, whereby the financial guarantees provided by the club were deemed insufficient. But among the Girondins who had appealed, relative optimism has been expressed in recent days ahead of the meeting held Tuesday afternoon at the headquarters of the French Football Federation (FFF), in the 15th arrondissement of Paris.

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The club’s president, Gérard Lopez, had hinted for a year that he had found guarantees to close the €40 million gap pinned by the DNCG. “The club and its shareholder have presented a project that is considered solid by all professionals and that meets point by point the expectations expressed by the committee initially”the Girondists said in a press release published after the decision.

Gérard Lopez had committed to inject €10 million into the capital through his company Jogo Bonito and to transfer half of the club’s debt, amounting to €52 million. The Girondins had also obtained from their creditors, the investment funds King Street and Fortress, to recover the profit-sharing on the transfer of Aurélien Tchouaméni to Real Madrid, worth more than eight million euros.

Gérard Lopez ready to “fight to the end”

Several local players had also made efforts, such as Bordeaux Métropole, who had agreed to spread the club’s debt of more than five million euros for the lease of the Matmut-Atlantique stadium over the next two seasons.

The club’s management also wanted to pay bail by selling several players (Hwang Ui-jo, Junior Onana, Alberth Elis, Sékou Mara), whose cumulative market value could reach several tens of millions of euros.

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All these elements failed to convince the DNCG. “This unjust decision is unacceptable and incomprehensible. I say it very clearly tonight to the supporters, the people of Bordeaux and all those who have sea and white blood: I will fight to the end.said Gérard Lopez, adding that he “appeal against this unjust decision”.

The goal is to avoid bankruptcies. The leader of the Girondins knows that the income the club can hope for in the third tier of French football will not allow it to ensure its daily operation. The Girondins are losing their professional status and will have to do without the television rights associated with a Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 presence.

The appeal is first submitted to the French National and Olympic Sports Committee (CNOSF), which can overturn the appeals committee’s decision. The FFF is under no obligation to follow the recommendation of the CNOSF. If the administrative demotion is upheld, the Girondists may apply to the emergency court of the Administrative Court to suspend the decision, before attempting to quash it.

An inevitable bankruptcy filing?

In case of bankruptcy, the Girondins will have to restart in National 3, at the fifth level of French football. A disaster for the club founded in 1881, six-time champion of France and which has had continuous professional status since 1937.

Many players will leave within a workforce that was initially downsized for Ligue 1. The issue of the club’s takeover could also arise, as its fall threatens “disastrous consequences for the entire local ecosystem”as he himself noted in his press release.

The subject warned the elected opposition officials at the level of Bordeaux Métropole: the group La République en Marche has asked for a “emergency meeting, bringing together all club stakeholders and city elected officials to assess future impacts on the community”while I wish “to determine all the responsibilities of such a shipwreck”.

The Girondins, champion of France for the last time in 2009 and whose last trophy dates back to 2013 with the Coupe de France, have been on a downward slope for several seasons. The sale of the club in 2018 by the M6 ​​group and its passage under the American flag, without setting up a clear sports project, completed the Bordeaux club’s relegation within the hierarchy of French football.

A man threatens to crystallize the tensions: Gérard Lopez. The Spanish-Luxembourg businessman multiplies the disappointments in the clubs he has visited (Lille, Boavista, Mouscron). However, he had been optimistic in the summer of 2021 when he convinced the DNCG of the merits of his plan to take over the Girondins de Bordeaux. “It is a great day for the Girondists and we are now going to start the implementation of the validated sporting and economic project [par la DNCG] », he then assured.

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Today is surprise in Bordeaux. Historic club of French football, the Girondins will have to rebuild thoroughly to survive and hope to find the elite one day.

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