AA Gent is not and never will be for sale, says main sponsor
Share article:
Share article:

AA Gent is not and never will be for sale, says main sponsor

Ivan De Witte © Belga

The chief sponsor of top football club AA Gent has ruled out the sale of the club to help it improve its chances in today’’s multi-million world of football.

In a message posted on social media, VDK Bank said, “The club may never be sold. Not now and not later. We will never approve a sale.”

Yesterday financial daily De Tijd reported that two other main figures behind the club, Ivan De Witte and Michel Louwagie, were sounding out the possibility of a partial or complete takeover of the club by a sponsor with deep pockets. The world of footballl has changed in recent years, the logic goes, and AA Gent needs backing to be able to compete on today’s market.

But the reports did not go down welll with VDK Bank, a regional bank whose logo appears on players’ shirts.

On Facebook, the bank posted the following uncompromising message:
“To be very clear: for VDK Bank, as the main sponsor of AA Gent, it is self-evident that the club will never be sold. Not now, and not later. The club is not a commodity, it is a heritage for the good of the supporters and the people of Ghent.”

The post goes on:

Both the City of Ghent and VDK Bank have always supported the club from that perspective. We will therefore never approve a sale. The cooperative statute with a social purpose was adopted for that reason and does not allow such a sale. We adhere to that statute. Football is more than money.”

The bank is closely associated with the city of Ghent as well as the club. The problem with any sale is that the partner found is unlikely to share the regional attachment to Ghent, but because of the club’s statute would still have to deal closely with the city’s council, which could lead to clashes.

The city council itself issues a curt statement: “For us, local anchoring is important in any future scenario for AA Gent.”

The football club changed its status in 2016 from a non-profit to a cooperative partnership with a social component. Ivan De Witte controls 25% of the club, Michel Louwagie 15%. 40% is held by other directors, including 14% in the hands of VDK Bank. The remaining 20% is in the hands of members of the former non-profit organisation and of the city of Ghent.

As a result, any takeover or all or part of the club would require the approval of a variety of different shareholders, including the city.

Latest news

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 ...
Lidl reopens all Belgian shops as strike actions end
Lidl has confirmed that all its shops in Belgium will reopen on Tuesday following six days of closure across various branches due to strike actions. ...
Brussels Christmas Market will once again return on 26 November
It may only be October, but the news that Brussels will get back its Christmas market this year means that seasonal celebrations with Glühwein ...
New coronavirus infections above 3,000 for first time since May
The number of people testing positive for coronavirus has skyrocketed to the highest rate since the start of May 2021. Between 9 and 15 October, ...
Brussels Airport adds 10 flight destinations this winter
Some 130 destinations will be served from Brussels Airport this winter, the company announced on Monday, just a few days before the start of the ...