Bordeaux future rosier after city approves new stadium guarantees


Bordeaux (AFP) – Bordeaux took a step back from the abyss on Friday when city officials approved rental guarantees for the cash-strapped club’s city-owned Matmut Atlantique stadium from would-be club owner Gerard Lopez.

“We either place our confidence in Gerard Lopez, or else it’s curtains for the club,” city metropolitan council leader Alain Anziani had warned late Thursday after a closed-doors meeting with Lopez which saw the Spanish-Luxembourg businessman, former owner of Lille, unveil his plans for the six-time champions.

Those included guarantees for rental payments for the stadium, inaugurated in 2015 and slated as a venue for football action during the 2024 Paris summer Olympics as well as for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The 42,000-capacity venue also hosted five games at Euro 2016 and has welcomed the French national side.

Bordeaux have been in peril since April when former owners King Street, an American financial group, appointed an administrator saying they wanted out after investing 46 million euros (55 million dollars) since buying the outfit in 2018 for 100 million euros.

France’s financial watchdog DNCG last week provisionally relegated the club to the second division owing to financial irregularities, although Bordeaux, one of the biggest clubs in the country, are appealing.

Lopez conceded last week that “the club is in rather a complicated state” but said he had the financial backing needed for a rescue.

Fellow top flight side Angers are likewise in financial dire straits and also facing a forced drop as the French domestic game labours under the cumulative effects of the pandemic and the recent collapse of a broadcasting deal.

A meeting of metropolitan authorities voted, save for the Communist faction, for Lopez’s Jogo Bonito Group to take over from King Street as tenants at the 183 million ($217 million) euro stadium as tenants for an annual 4.9 million euros, subject to the proposal being signed off by the DNCG, with whom Lopez will meet on Monday.

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