Sport Wenger, the funds of the problem
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Surveyed by beIN Sports on Saturday May 23, Arsène Wenger worried about the multiplication of takeovers of the hexagonal clubs by foreign funds. The former great man of Arsenal notably put forward the idea of creating an ethics commission for the purchase of Ligue 1 teams "to see what are the real intentions of the people who buy our clubs" . What to wonder if the current safeguards, like the DNCG, are sufficiently armed and equipped to ensure the sustainability not only economic, but especially sporting French football.
We do not know if the Girondins de Bordeaux will act as ominous omens. Owned by the American King Street fund since October 2018, the club with the scapular, which remains on two negative net results of 25 and 21 million euros in previous seasons,. No one has any illusions about the intentions of the American owner, while the club validated a positive transfer balance of 35 and 30 million euros during the last two mercatos: King Street, which became the sole shareholder of the club in last December and has invested more than 100 million euros in the purchase of all of the Girondins' shares, now wants to have change. The Marine et Blancs, like LOSC or Monaco, seem theoretically called to transform themselves into a nursery for players, which flows massively from young talent on the transfer market, to make profitable the initial investments of their voracious owner.
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This should not allay the fears of Arsène Wenger, now director of world football development at FIFA. The Alsatian is not hiding it: it beats the idea that Ligue 1 mutates into a simple intermediate championship, trainer, detector, then seller of talents and unable, PSG excluded, to assume defined sporting ambitions: " French clubs are gradually falling into the hands of people who are not real builders of the future of clubs, but rather investors who seek to earn money very quickly with the clubs ... It might be necessary create a club purchasing ethics committee to see what the real intentions of the people who buy them are. Clubs which were however bought with the blessing of a guardian of the temple which, him, already exists since 1984: the DNCG.
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The angry model
It is undeniable: the main body of financial regulation of hexagonal football has generally fulfilled its office. Its substantial mission? Ensure that the sports investments of the clubs it regulates do not exceed their financial capacity. In recent seasons, the DNCG had notably prohibited the LOSC from recruiting on a conservatory basis in December 2017, before changing its mind, by lifting the sanction of the Mastiffs in June 2018. How to explain this sudden magnanimity? The answer can be summed up in these few words from Jean-Marc Mickeler, the president of the DNCG: "The LOSC model is a new model, which is based on a significant debt lever, the counterpart of which is the ability to sell players. Therefore, the ability of the club to demonstrate this model requires being able to act freely within the transfer window. Today we have the guarantees that allow us to register the LOSC in the championship to come. It is now up to LOSC to demonstrate the reality of this model. »
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Full cases, empty staff
The reality of this model, precisely, is that of a logic which is probably intended to be purely economic. A notable exception for PSG, the era of "dancers", like the OM de Tapie, where clubs were more of a showcase than a cash machine, is coming to an end in France. That of investment funds begins. In Lille, Bordeaux,, the owners suddenly seem taken by an astonishing conviction: it is possible to make money with a football club. The recipe is laid out on paper: minimize expenses, recruit young talents at bargain prices, develop them, then, finally, resell them with added value, often abroad. If everything goes as planned, the DNCG can find nothing to complain about: the accounts are balanced.
What the National Directorate of Management Control does not quantify, on the other hand, is the impoverishment of hexagonal football, which the advent of investment funds in France threatens to provoke. Funds which will not seek to invest any surplus cash in the sports sector, but rather to collect it. Ultimately, it is the phenomenon of vassalization of French football, as a supplier of talents of all kinds to major foreign championships, which is likely to increase. Arsène Wenger would thus be the standard bearer of a naive, but essential question: what is the point of ensuring economic survival, if it is accompanied by a persistent death of sporting considerations and ambitions? A question to which neither the DNCG nor any regulatory body governing professional football seems empowered to give even an embryonic answer.
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