By Samindra Kunti
May 29 – Anderlecht have reshuffled their boardroom yet again in a bid to halt the club’s dramatic, recent slide. Wouter Vandenhaute steps in as Anderlecht’s new chairman and with former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany becoming an investor in the club.
The new boardroom restructuring has been dressed up as a new start, but reflects the malaise and sense of disorientation at a club burdened by disappointing sporting results and debts in excess of €90 million. In the 2018/19 season, Anderlecht registered a mammoth loss of €27 million.
The latest reshuffle follows the appointment of Karel Van Eetvelt as the club’s new CEO in January. Local entrepreneur Vandenhaute climbs the club hierarchy from advisor to chairman, a marked u-turn by club owner Marc Coucke, a local billionaire businessman, who outbid Vandenhaute for ownership of Anderlecht in the first place.
Vandenhaute’s appointment is not without controversy. He runs sports management company Let’s Play. The new Anderlecht chairman is expected to relinquish his role at Let’s Play to avoid any conflict of interest.
Coucke’s step back is significant. Last summer Coucke, sporting director Michael Verschueren and then technical director Frank Arnesen landed a major coup by signing Kompany as player-coach, but Kompany failed to impose a vision borrowed from his long-time coach Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Experienced coach Frank Vercauteren came on board and stabilised results on the field.
Anderlecht may have failed to ignite after Kompany’s return, but it hasn’t stopped the defender from becoming ever more ambitious. The former Manchester City captain will also invest in Anderlecht, making him a player, a member of the coaching staff and investor all at the same time. His investment comes at a crucial time for the club, which, faced with huge debts and the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, will no doubt need to implement stringent austerity measures to prevent aggravating its predicament further.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1594068050labto1594068050ofdlr1594068050owedi1594068050sni@o1594068050fni1594068050