Football – Clermont Foot : Ahmet Schaefer – Jérôme Champagne, les raisons du divorce

Clermont Foot : Ahmet Schaefer - Jérôme Champagne, les raisons du divorce

These two loved each other so much. It is in any case the image that they returned to and in public. Schaefer-Champagne, Champagne-Schaefer. Communion, smiles and complicity. One led the club from afar, from Switzerland, but he never missed the opportunity to show his enthusiasm, often communicative, especially through social networks. The other armed arm of the capo and duly sworn “advisor to the president” had been for three years the operational figurehead (with the discreet Yannick Flavien) of a project that both carried out in unison. We wouldn’t have slipped a blade of grass between the two of us.

But that was before. The facade has just exploded and the two parts have been torn apart last week. Seen at the resumption of training on June 29, we were surprised by the prolonged absence of Jérôme Champagne, who tends to quickly follow the team as closely as possible. A withdrawal that seemed even more suspicious in Aurillac on Saturday during the last warm-up game against Toulouse.

Alongside other areas of tension between the two sides, defender Hountondji’s stormy departure from Angers appears to have been the turning point. President Schaefer says “having respected the word given to the player to let him go in 2022” after asking him to stay last season after promotion. On this, the two men seem to be quite in agreement, but for Champagne, “this exit voucher was worth an interesting offer. Do not go to a competitor for maintenance”.

5% of the shares?

It was at that moment that Champagne said he understood that “the collegiate and original direction” that had prevailed until then had “broken”. Now he makes the decisions alone, it has become a vertical system”. The club’s press release, signed Champagne, will serve as the casus belli. For his part, without denying “the painful side of any separation”, Ahmet Schaefer preferred in the preamble to salute the work of his late buddy: “He has done an enormous job in the last three years. I want to save the best moments and the emotions experienced. In every home, when there is separation, it is never easy”, the boss has just released.

“I’m not leaving the club, they kick me out”

jerome champagne (Former adviser to Ahmet Schaefer)

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I’m not sure this triplet will be enough to calm down the now former adviser to the president who has a hard tooth. He even forgets the always calm tone that this trained diplomat inevitably took with each speech: “I am not leaving Clermont Foot, which will have been the greatest adventure of my life, even ahead of diplomacy, the adventure of the 1998 World Cup, or FIFA.” . No, I’m not leaving the club, they kick me out! Is incredible”.

No discussion between Lucas Da Cunha (Nice) and Clermont Foot

If the Hountondji affair may have appeared as the last friction that sealed the rift between the two men, the financial dispute is obviously never far away and appears as the Gordian knot of the affair. Jérôme Champagne repeats at will that the president had promised him at the beginning of their common adventure “to pay me and Yannick (Flavien, another important adviser to the club) 5% of the shares. It is a broken promise. I know I will never see that money.” Listening to him, we also assume that the differences are not new. “What I say can earn me a defamation lawsuit, but we (understanding with Flavien) did everything possible to hide certain truths. He was not present. We were often asked: “But where is the president?” “.

And Champagne to cite another example of deep disagreements in the failed takeover bid for the Danish club Vendsyssel FF, sold very quickly with losses in support. The disgraced man also accuses his former boss “of having wanted to dismantle the French contracting sector of the club. We opposed it, especially when we know the quality of the work carried out over the years by Philippe Vaugeois and his teams”.

Contacted in turn, Yannick Flavien could not be located. But from a reliable source close to the club, he is part of the project currently led by Ahmet Schaefer and therefore remains tied to the club. For his part, Ahmet Schaefer did not want to join in considering that “things were no longer going well for Jérôme but that the club is above everything”.

“I want to remember our good times. Jérôme Champagne has worked a lot for this club”

ahmed schaefer (Clermont Foot President)

Refusing “to go into details” and rejecting any idea of ​​unpacking “in the public square”, the head of Core Sports Capital, the holding company that oversees Clermont Foot and the Austrian club from Lustenau, will go no further. But while Champagne, beyond his presence throughout the 38 days of the last season of L1, was a great interlocutor at the local level, in particular with institutions and politicians, the one from Zurich did not close the door “to a possible hiring.

This is the club’s first major crisis since its inauguration in March 2019, a week before the resumption of the championship.

Valery Lefort

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