Sport, finance… AS Saint-Etienne is playing big!

While AS Saint-Etienne will play big on Saturday against Bordeaux, its financial future is obscured. This match between the last two in the standings already seems crucial to launch a season that promises to be perilous at all levels. The general manager, Claude Puel, had set the deadline of ten days to assess the objectives of the Greens. We are halfway there and, for now, ASSE (19th) has not yet won, after three draws and two defeats. After Bordeaux, Monaco, Nice and Lyon will be on the Stéphanois program.

The balance sheet is as gloomy as the financial situation. In two years, the budget has fallen from 110 million euros to 70 million. This summer, the club did not record any inflow of money linked to player transfers. The closed-door matches of the 2020-2021 fiscal year deprived the club of ticketing revenue while the Greens suffered, like all French clubs, the TV rights crisis and the withdrawal of the Médiapro channel with expected revenues reduced by half. And the recent comments of Executive Chairman Jean-François Soucasse are not reassuring.

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« We still have this season a payroll that is inadequate with our income. Structurally, the club therefore still generates deficits. The operating deficit is still significant. The constraints that we have for the next ten months are still very strong « , he recently explained to the daily La Tribune-Le Progrès, while affirming that » the club will be able to carry out this season to its end « .

« If there had been (leaving) opportunities for certain players in the interests of the club and the player, they would have been taken. They did not always arise. We could have transferred major players at the club who have is the subject of offers.

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Because we must still try to keep a competitive team to ensure at least the maintenance in Ligue 1, all the more important in the process of selling the club restarted last spring by the two shareholders, Bernard Caïazzo (67 years old) and Roland Romeyer (76 years old). In place since 2004, they no longer offer any prospects for the future.

But as with the choice of coaches and other strategic aspects, it has always been a cordial disagreement between the two men. Already sellers in 2018 without seeing the transaction succeed, they do not agree on the profile of the buyer. In addition, they would like to stay involved with the club after the sale. A brake on takeover projects.

Caïazzo, a Parisian businessman with little presence in Saint-Etienne, hopes to find a billionaire likely to buy the club and give him his place in the authorities – he is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Professional Football League (LFP ). Romeyer, an entrepreneur from Saint-Etienne, leans more towards a takeover by a group of local economic players. The latter, with insufficient resources, must at least be supported by a banking establishment or an external investment fund to achieve its ends.

They agree at least on one point: the new owners must take ASSE to take a sporting course to bring the team back to the Top 5 of Ligue 1. It is the Anglo-Dutch audit firm KPMG who is responsible for studying the files to find the ideal candidate. The figure of one hundred million euros, minimum, is often mentioned for the acquisition of shares and the essential investment to follow in recruitment. But that seems insufficient to find the top of Ligue 1.

Shareholders were already hoping for a sale on July 1. From now on, it is a deadline of December 31 that would be targeted, allowing the new owner to invest in the winter transfer window in order to seriously strengthen the team. In the meantime, the Greens must stay the course sportingly.

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