Girondins fall foul of French financial police and relegated to third tier

June 15 – Girondins de Bordeaux have been relegated to the French third division because of financial problems following a decision by French football’s financial watchdog the DNCG.

Bordeaux have immediately appealed the decision from the DNCG, but, as it stands, the club will start next season in the Championnat National. The club had already been relegated to Ligue 2 this season after conceding 91 goals in the 2021-22 campaign.

It is not the first time that the DNCG have relegated the Bordeaux club. Last season, the watchdog sent the club to Ligue 2, but Bordeaux won the appeal and remained in the top flight.

Gerard Lopez took over. The businessmen and former Lille owner drew up a business plan to convince France’s financial watchdog DNCG to reverse their decision to relegate the club from the topflight.

Before Lopez’s arrival, the club had been placed under the control of a local commercial court following the decision by King Street, who succeeded M6 as the majority stakeholder in the club in a €70 million takeover in 2018, to withdraw funding for the club. King Street invested €46 million in Bordeaux, but no longer “wished to support the club and finance its current and future needs”. Lopez emerged as a new saviour even as losses were reaching €80 million.

However, this time Lopez did not convince the DNCG of his plans to turn Bordeaux financially more healthy. French media outlet Sud Ouest indicate that Lopez’s plan in the last few weeks had been to bring in €10 million from his Jogo Bonito company while also transferring responsibility for half of the debt, or €26 million, to the firm as well.

Lopez’s track record in football is however hardly exemplary, his departure at Lille and Mouscron, where he had stakes, leaving both the clubs in a state of complete disarray. His name and one of his companies featured in the Panama Papers and Football Leaks. Why the DNCG allowed Lopez to takeover Bordeaux in the first place remains a mystery.

Bordeaux have won six Ligue 1 titles and played in the UEFA Cup final in 1996. The club also reached the Champions League quarter-finals in 2009-10.

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