KV Oostende heads for bankruptcy as PMG refuses to co-operate in hunt for new owner

May 20 – In a damning indictment of Pacific Media Group’s (PMG) football club ownership model, Belgium’s KV Oostende is facing bankruptcy after the club failed to find a new owner. 

The club had to submit an incomplete license application because of their financial problems. In a statement on the club’s website, the club’s temporary administrator Werner Van Oosterwyck said: “Without a license we will drop to the second amateur class, but we cannot pay off the large debt burden there. In my capacity as temporary administrator, I will therefore have no choice but to file for bankruptcy of KV Oostende on June 3.”

“I realise that this is a heavy blow for an entire community: fans, (youth) players, trainers, sponsors, employees, volunteers, … I am certainly also thinking of the fantastic team of employees who kept the club running in difficult circumstances last season, and are now losing their jobs. This is a dark day in my career as an administrator. I at least hope that KVO can somehow make a fresh start. A city like Ostend cannot be at a high level without a football club.”

In 2020, the US investment fund took over the club after reaching a deal with previous owner Marc Coucke’s family investment company Alychlo. Coucke moved on to buy leading domestic club Anderlecht. At the time, Oostende had their license withdrawn because of their debt.

PMG also have FC Den Bosch in the Netherlands, GKS Tychy in Poland, Barnsley in England, Thun in Switzerland, Esbjerg in Denmark and AS Nancy in France in their portfolio. The group sold Nice to Jim Ratcliffe.

In the ‘MCO’ (managed care organisation) structure of PMG, there is no lead club, but all of  FC Thun, Esbjerg and AS Nancy have been relegated at some point under the ownership of the group.

The club also took aim at Paul Conway of PMG as the main culprit for its demise. Oosterwyck said: “I would also like to return to Paul Conway’s claims in the press that he cooperated in the takeover file. We can strongly deny this. Initially, Paul Conway even stubbornly refused any cooperation. Before my arrival as provisional administrator, he even categorically refused takeover talks.”

“After blocking any negotiation for a long time and then making exuberant and changing demands, Paul Conway indeed agreed this week to sell his shares for a symbolic euro. He did demand another €600,000 as soon as the takeover was in order. Which amounts to the same as asking money for the shares. Moreover, this implies that the other shareholders were also entitled to €600,000 each.”

“While the shares no longer had any value. On the contrary, it involves debts. No acquirer would pay to get their hands on these shares. In the event of a takeover by Mark Campbell’s investors, Paul Conway and the other shareholders would still receive an amount in the event of a promotion to 1A. This proposal was also refused by Conway.”

KV Oostende’s impending bankruptcy is an indictment of why European football has not provided a proper legal framework for MCO constructions and why it keeps allowing the practice to spread.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1719278901labto1719278901ofdlr1719278901owedi1719278901sni@i1719278901tnuk.1719278901ardni1719278901mas1719278901