By Samindra Kunti
November 16 – Japanese online company DMM is the new owner of Belgian topflight club Sint-Truiden. Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet (pictured) has sold his shares, ending his ties to Belgian football.
Last season the controversial Duchatelet became Sint-Truiden’s owner, but Japanese interest in the club had been a public secret ever since DMM (an DMM is an e-commerce and internet company) acquired a 20% minority share in the club in June. Subsequently Duchatelet stated a takeover was ‘premature’, but yesterday Sint-Truiden announced DMM as its new owner. The takeover fee was not disclosed.
Duchatelet and Sint-Truiden president Marijke Hofte didn’t attend the press conference announcing the takeover – Hofte is set to resign when the deal is fully completed on December 1. In 2015 Duchatelet sold Standard Liege. Duchatelet still owns four clubs in Europe – Charlton Athletic, Carl Zeiss Jena, Ujpest and Alcorcon. Charlton fans have been protesting against the Belgian tycoon for selling first-team players and the club’s relegation to League One, England’s third tier.
“DMM members are already integrated into the club and in the future there will be others,” said Sint-Truiden chief executive Philippe Bormans. “DMM is very, very ambitious and we are only excited. They have seen with their own eyes that you can’t handle football as you treat a company. We’re sure we’ve done a good job.”
“STVV is an interesting and dynamic club, in full growth with good sporting results and an interesting infrastructure,” said DMM’s Yusuke Muranaka. “We want to please the supporters and the people of Sint-Truiden. We want to focus on the youth and work with the back room staff to support the youth as well as possible.”
Sint-Truiden sit fourth in the Belgian Jupiler Pro League ten points behind league leaders Club Brugge. This weekend they face KV Kortrijk away.
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