Belgian investor Duchatelet puts Charlton up for sale as he heads for football’s exit

Roland Duchatelet

By Samindra Kunti

January 3 – Roland Duchatelet is to sell Charlton Athletic and end his troubled near four-year reign at the Addicks. His CEO Katrien Meire has joined Sheffield Wednesday.

From the start it was a marriage doomed for failure, and, at last, Belgian businessman Duchatelet has decided to exit Charlton by seeking a third party takeover. Charlton’s owner revealed that the club are in talks with “various interested parties”. Duchatelet made the announcement on the club’s official website.

Local media have named Andrew Muir as a potential new owner of the London club. The Australian Muir sold his family business Good Guys, an electronics chain, for A$870 million (£504 million).

As soon as Duchatelet gained control of Charlton in 2014, his relationship with the fans was rocky.  Duchatelet’s ambitions of gaining promotion to the English top flight never materialised as he failed to invest in the club. Instead, Charlton dropped out of The Championship and into League One.

Fans united in different organised groups, including CARD, the Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet, to voice their dismay and show their anger over how Duchatelet ran the club.

His CEO Meire wasn’t a popular figure at The Valley either, angering supporters by referring to them as “customers”.

“This has personally been a very difficult decision to make as I love working for the club with all the terrific staff at The Valley and Sparrows Lane but I believe I need a new challenge,” said Meire when she confirmed her resignation at Charlton.

She has been appointed as the new CEO of Sheffield Wednesday.

With the imminent sale of Charlton Duchatelet is slowly reducing his stakes in the game. Earlier this season, the Belgian sold Belgian topflight club Sint-Truiden to Japanese online retailer Digital Media Market. Duchatelet still has interests in Spanish second division club Alcoron and German third division outfit Carl Zeiss Jena. One of his sons owns Hungarian club Ujpest.

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