France Bleu Gironde: What about DNCG’s demands on 15 June?
François Ponthieu: DNCG wants clubs that come before the commission to have a positive net situation at the end of the season. So it’s not about inventing numbers. There is a balance sheet, a profit and loss account, and according to these figures, the club may or may not pass the criteria determined by the commission. Obviously, as I told you, it is necessary to have a positive net situation. So if there is a gap, it must be filled.
Does this mean that when we say today that Girondins de Bordeaux have a deficit of 40 million euros for this season, those 40 million must be in an account somewhere to start the season from scratch?
Debts don’t necessarily translate into a negative net worth, I don’t want to be too technical. But once again we add the pros and cons, and if on June 30 is in a clear position you have cons, you will definitely need to fill them. Otherwise the club will not be allowed to leave next season. Obviously, if you have a deficit, you must make up for it.
And a deficit of 40 million a month before the transition before DNCG, do you think it’s alarming or is it already visible?
Depends on the script. It depends on the investors, it depends on the club. It depends on many things. Because you know that in an economic situation, just like in a job and especially in football, there are many things that are said, written and agreed upon. But there is also a lot we don’t know, so we don’t know at all what the financial situation of the club is. Maybe there are reservations today, maybe money will come, maybe there are promises made, guarantees given. There is no reason to worry. Also, not everything should be dramatized.
Seeing the economic instability prevailing in the Girondins de Bordeaux for several years, can we expect a framework review for the wage bill next year if this gap is filled?
We can expect anything, so it all depends on how the gap is closed or not. If the DNCG Commission considers that the net situation has become positive again as debts have been cleared or new money has arrived. 2032 If one thinks that the next budget for the 2023 season can be executed quite accurately, we are starting new foundations for the next season. Despite the club’s challenges, it’s unclear whether there will be a framework for next year’s payroll.
Doesn’t the DNCG run the risk of applying the precautionary principle?
Sure, but not automatically. We have never made decisions based on automatic criteria. We have always measured club budgets in the best and most precise way possible. And each time we made decisions, in any case, I think it was the same thing when I was president and today, the decisions are different adapted to the situation of each club.
Do you believe in this economic model based on the existence of pension funds?
Look, it’s not because I believe it or not. We see that you need money in professional football. How it will be used after the money is up to each of the investors. I, I am a football fan and what do we want as a football fan? We want to go to a stadium with atmosphere and audience. And for there to be atmosphere and audience, you need to have at least 50-65% of the seats at very affordable prices. I’m talking about the places behind the goals, I’m talking about the certain side places. The Arsenal model, where there is not much atmosphere in the stadium today, is not a model for the future in my opinion. I think it’s a very good solution if there’s a happy medium for this popular fervor that can always go on and find such a balance among investors who put money in, charge for certain seats with extremely expensive services, and leave other seats in the stadium. After football, there is a smokescreen that investors think will make a lot of money. This is not possible for me. Of all the budgets I’ve seen, very few investors walk away with money. They have to fill the gaps every year, so today’s economic model is sports, professional sports in any case, professional football. There is such a shortcoming, but it is structural. Mutual funds investing in a football club can have other repercussions in the media, real estate programs, whatever, but probably not just in football.
For example, are you in favor of a so-called socio-system where fans can be found on the boards of clubs in one way or another?
I think the fans are there to support, not to guide the clubs. It is true that in principle after fans this is the foundation of clubs and we see this through sports associations that persist despite the problems SASPs may experience. The fans are there to preserve the identity of the club over time and above all to ensure that when you go to the club to watch a game there is a real atmosphere and a real local color. So yes, it needs to be implemented. How ? I don’t know, but certainly not in the direction of the clubs, certainly much more in consultation with the sports authorities and the leaders of football clubs. I wish because today, in the world we know. That was somewhat of my leitmotif when I ran for Fed chair. When you have 50 fans going to the other end of France to support their team, we can’t have four CRS companies, that’s not possible and it’s hurting the image of football and the revenue of football, so it’s a vicious circle, so if we keep going like this we’ll have less and less money. Everything is somehow connected.