On Sunday in Paris, David Guion’s men will give chase to try to save the place of a historic club of French football in the elite. And does his survival also play into the professional world? This is, of course, the whole question for a club already financially strangled in L1. Asked by the sports newspaper, Gérard Lopez said: in case of bad luck, he is willing to stay because of “his personal and emotional investment”.
In the same way that the businessman had tried to extinguish the fire that started in December, he excludes the hypothesis of a bankruptcy filing and calls for a continuation of activity in L2 through “a super-deep review of the structure of the Girondins”. In January, general manager Thomas Jacquemier emphasized at a press conference that the club’s current model could no longer continue in the front room.
A descent traditionally fuses the main source of income for L1 teams: TV rights. The professional football league has planned a “parachute” to help the relegated hold the shock the first year: 2 million fixed euros and 500,000 euros per season spent in L1 for the last 10 years. Or 7 million euros, if it fell on the head of the Girondins. A patch and not enough to make up for all the losses. FC Metz relegated in 2018 and saw its revenues fall by 11 million euros (9 million TV rights, 1 from sponsorship, 1 from ticketing). A year earlier, Lorient had lost 9 million euros in revenue (including 6 from TV rights) during its first season. In the case of the Girondins, the deficit would affect a club already in significant deficit with a minimum operating deficit of 40 million euros (excluding transfers on 30 June) this season and a forecast of minus 20 to minus 30 million euros (excluding transfers) next season. And whose ambition to act (selling editor’s note) would take even more lead in the wing.
If it really existed, the prospect of a “model” in Ligue 2 would inevitably come with a serious cutback in the workforce. L2’s biggest budget for two years (27 million euros last season just after its decline, 20 euros announced this season), Toulouse FC has 65 employees. It is almost four times less than Bordeaux today. And the Girondins have the 6th “player” payroll in the elite.
For the directors, a social plan would entail costs, both human and financial. For players, the Professional Football Charter provides for an automatic 20% pay cut during a descent and the possibility for clubs to request a reduction of 30 to 50% on a case-by-case basis. If he refuses, he will be released from his contract.
What about the stadium?
In the case of Ligue 2 in Bordeaux next season, the payment of the rent of Matmut Atlantique – 4.8 million euros – would not pose an immediate problem for the Girondins: during the negotiations for the takeover of the club, the Métropole had agreed to postpone the payment of the current year and the two coming in 2025. Ditto for the weight of the loans in King Street and Fortress (50 million), which should be repaid in the same period. These topics would quickly become hot topics if not addressed right away.
In recent months, funds have already looked at the club’s predicament by imagining that the communities would give up the stadium and/or the Haillan training center for a bargain price in exchange for a rescue in the professional world.
The market value of the current players is affected by the situation, the surest cash flow to come remains the profit share in the likely transfers next summer of the “ex” Jules Koundé and Aurélien Tchouaméni. A new presentation of fresh funds seems inevitable to be authorized by the DNCG to start again this summer in L2… or in L1. Gérard Lopez, who invested some 10 million in the club through a capital increase last summer, has always said he is calm about that. In any case, spring is probably going to be just as hectic as the last.