Ligue 2 : les coulisses du second sauvetage des Girondins de Bordeaux

Gérard Lopez entouré par son avocat Laurent Cotret (à gauche) et Thomas Jacquemier (à droite)

The passage against the DNCG this Tuesday afternoon closed a very eventful two-month sequence for Girondins de Bordeaux on an extra-sports level! A sequence in which the club almost disappeared after the decision of the financial police of French football to demote it to National 1, twice, in the first instance and then on appeal. Finally recruited in extremis in Ligue 2 thanks to the approval of the Bordeaux Commercial Court, the CNOSF and the FFF, Girondins de Bordeaux came close to correctional. And they toured all the states.

In the short term, Bordeaux fans can breathe and above all concentrate on the pitch: “Place to play sports”, ton, for several days, Gérard Lopez, owner and president of Marine et Blanc. It was time. But before moving on to the sports chapter, in particular the transfer window, France Bleu Gironde invites you to go behind the scenes of this second Girondins rescue, in the space of a year.

The management of the day understood that it would be very complicated

Some had understood, from the beginning, that it would be an obstacle course, after the club’s relegation to Ligue 2. And on June 14, during the first step against the DNCG, everyone realized it. Out of the audience of three complications seen by the Bordeaux delegation, the hostility of contradicteurs du jour et surtout la présence non-autorisée d’un membre de l’instance, fin connaisseur du club, n’augurait rien de bon pour the continuation. This person who doesn’t hesitate “destroy” the Bordeaux file while leaking false information to the press about the day’s events. His behavior will also earn him a short call to order from the head of the DNCG. The Girondins management has confirmed that some members of the club have been playing against them for several months.

“On the one hand, we were naive and didn’t have much up our sleeves; and on the other hand, we quickly felt that the file would not only be economic and that we would not let anything go by, “ says someone close to the case.

Behind the scenes, some hope, in fact, to see the club declare bankruptcy to resume it in Nacional 3. The files are almost tied. In addition, during the two months, several leaks will test the management of the club to the point that Gérard Lopez will send an email to the members of the board of directors to remind them that they are subject to a confidentiality clause. This very sick atmosphere within the Girondins themselves will not be without a future.

Gérard López, owner and president of Girondins de Bordeaux © Maxpp

According to our information, the structure of the club should change quickly. Gérard Lopez recently mentioned the creation, for example, of a strategic council. Also on the table is the option of a board of directors, headed by the Spanish-Luxembourg businessman and one or two relatives, accompanied by a supervisory board. On the other hand, the hypothesis of the appointment of a vice president took the initiative to the wing: “The boss is the one who puts up the money, why would he change that?”, repeats the entourage of the president of Girondins de Bordeaux.

The day Fortaleza tried to fire Gérard López

It was a weekend in June. The tension is then very strong between Gérard López and his creditors, the US investment funds Fortress and King Street. The latter simply decide to “negotiate” the debt of the Girondins in “distress”. That is, put it in the public square, and basically give it to the first one who arrives with a minimum of money on the table. The Americans only offer Gérard López to recover his initial bet, that is, 10 million euros, and a percentage of the value of the club if he is sold.

According to France Bleu Gironde, two American businessmen who work with investment funds are showing interest. One of them is co-owner of an NBA franchise and a good European soccer club. They get in touch with Gérard Lopez who, of course, does not welcome them with open arms. Eventually the Fortress attempt quickly fails: “He couldn’t do it, the timing was impossible. This attempt was too late and above all disorganized.” GL wins this first burning moment, while the negotiations to reduce the debt continue and the DNCG’s appeal commission approaches.

The day Gérard López went all-in

“All Inside” as the poker players say. This is what the Hispano-Luxembourg businessman decided to do between the DNCG and CNOSF decision on appeal! A huge bluff where he told the two investment funds that he was simply going to crash everything and withdraw the balls from the operation if they did not make a greater effort on the debt to save the club. “You had to get into them,” replies someone close to GL. As revealed by L’Equipe, Gérard Lopez is simply threatening his creditors with putting the club into forced liquidation. And goodbye to the 53 million euros of debt of the Americans.

Gérard López assumes this risky blow today, saying that he knew very well that Fortaleza and Rey were going to end up letting go. After three days of tension, this is what will happen. The investment funds will agree to reduce the debt by 75%, in particular by simply abandoning half of it. The other part is restructured. And in the end, the club’s economic debt is already only 8 million euros thanks to the recent transfer of Jules Koundé to Barça.

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But beware, this extraordinary effort by investment funds should not be left without a future. They have no intention of sitting like this on 26 million euros. According to various sources on the other side of the Atlantic, the councils of Fortress and King Street, but also those of the club, are considering taking legal action against the DNCG for interference and in order to obtain compensation for the consequences of the decisions taken, which would entail a significant capital. losses during this transfer window. Several French clubs could be added to the file.

The day Nasser al-Khelaïfi offers to speak

In French football, it is well known that Gérard López has few friends and therefore many enemies. “Frankly, we have had very little support in recent weeks. We have even taken big hits from former players. I recognize that it was not easy for the days”, regrets the retinue of the president of the Girondins. In the midst of this environmental hostility, one man stepped forward, and not just anyone: Nasser al-Khelaïfi, the president of Paris-Saint-Germain. The Qatari leader was willing to speak publicly in the media to support the Spanish-Luxembourg businessman.

Nasser al-Khelaïfi, president of Paris-Saint-Germain.
Nasser al-Khelaïfi, president of Paris-Saint-Germain. © AFP
Bertrand GUAY / AFP

Another stayed behind, but was one of the few “so as not to break López” in French courts. This is Jean-Michel Aulas, the president of OL. “He wasn’t with his ‘Viva Gérard López’ banner either, but at least he wasn’t against us, on the contrary!” explains a witness to the negotiations in recent weeks.

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