Share article:
Share article:

For sale: Football club AA Gent

© Belga

The owners of AA Gent, one of Belgium’s top football clubs, are looking for a financial bail-out, according to De Tijd.

That could take the form of a new major investor, or a complete takeover, the paper reports.

The problem is that football these days has become a multi-billion business worldwide, with huge inflows of cash from all corners. That puts pressure on clubs to spend more – on players, on stadium facilities, trainers, travel and so on.

But Ivan De Witte (74) and Michel Louwagie (65) are not at that level. The club’s finances have been analysed and the conclusion reached that only a new investor with deep pockets can keep AA Gent at the top of Belgian football.

Due to the changed context in football – where big money rules – De Witte is beckoning for external capital, via an investor or a complete takeover,” one source told the paper.

It is out of the question that it will stop at remain with a change of management.”

At present the hunt is still in an exploratory phase; no sales process has even been started.

But AA Gent has been the subject of exploration before, with feelers put out by a rich American investor, as well as the owner of Cookware, the Belgian company behind the Greenpan brand. Of the two, preference would go to the Belgian investor, all other things being equal.

Part of the reason, but an important part, is the relationship between the club and the Ghent city council, which has made its preference for a local anchor known. The only trouble is, the biggest offer is very likely to come from abroad.

In the 1990s, AA Gent was a failing club, with €25 million debt and next to no income. De Witte and Louwagie arrived as white knights and began the long slog to return the club to financial health. That was ultimately successful – the club had €60 million in turnover in 2019-2020.

Latest news

Belgium considers relaxing testing rules for UK travellers
At the next Consultative Committee meeting, Belgium will look into relaxing the testing and entry policy for travellers coming from the United ...
Jette libraries start giving plants away with books
Visitors to libraries in the Brussels municipality of Jette will soon be able to pick up a free plant along with a book, thanks to the new Plantotek ...
‘Do what you want, but do it as safely as possible,’ experts warn
As the daily number of new coronavirus infections exceeds 3,000 for the first time since May, infectious disease expert Erika Vlieghe and ...
‘We’re running dry’: Brussels teacher shortage reaches critical levels
The teacher shortage in Brussels is affecting schools across language borders, according to Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism and Dutch ...
Belgium in Brief: Getting To The Airport
When I saw the news of plans for a tram line and cycle path to connect Brussels' outskirts to the airport, my first reaction was sheer joy.  Let ...
EU should invest €5 trillion in climate plan, says State Secretary for Economic Recovery
The European Union must invest €5 trillion in its climate plan over the next decade to "retain its credibility as a political project," according ...
Brussels café managers ask for security guards following stabbing over vaccination proof
Managers of cafes in Brussels are asking to be provided with security guards if they’re to continue enforcing rules surrounding proof of vaccination, ...
1.6 tonnes of drugs, 27 suspects: Belgian police bust major gang
The Belgian police and public prosecutor's office arrested 27 suspects and seized 1.6 tonnes of drugs, over €80,000 and a number of weapons in a ...
75% more sexual violence victims seek help in Brussels since summer
There has been a 75% increase in the number of people asking for help from the Brussels Centre for the Treatment of Sexual Violence (CPVS) since the ...
European Commission outlines possible action against the rule of law crisis in Poland
In a speech at the European Parliament plenary on Tuesday morning, Commission president Ursula von der Leyen listed three options for action against ...
PFOS contamination found in air around 3M factory
Months after unsafe levels of the chemical PFOS were discovered in the water and soil in the vicinity of a 3M factory in Antwerp, in addition to in ...
Belgium is global leader in plastic recycling and bioplastic innovations
Belgium is among the best-performing countries when it comes to innovation in plastic recycling and researching alternative plastics technologies, an ...