According to L’Équipe American billionaire David Blitzer is stalling on a financial takeover of Saint-Étienne until the extent of sanctions by the LFP – the league body that represents Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 – are known on 23rd June.
Representatives of the American businessman arrived to visit the club on Wednesday, accompanied by a representative of KPMG, the audit and consulting firm in charge of ASSE’s sale. Whilst any visit from potential buyers strengthens the likeliness of a Blitzer-buyout; any progress will be unlikely before the 23rd June – when ASSE will appear before the Ligue de Football Professionnel’s disciplinary committee. Any sanctions made by the French league’s governing body could include the relocation of matches and /or a points deduction.
This follows the chaotic scenes at the end of the second leg of the promotion/relegation play-off against Auxerre, which saw Les Verts relegated to Ligue 2 on penalties (4-5) after a 2-2 draw on aggregate. This will evidently have an impact on the process of Saint-Étienne’s sale, which was announced immediately following the club’s relegation to Ligue 2.
Blitzer’s multi-club group were the first candidates interested in the sale, but will have to wait to see, and potentially adapt, to the potential consequences of these sanctions. It is reported that Blitzer could pursue a strategy in which he becomes a “strong minority shareholder” – or buy the club outright.
In either sense, the American billionaire is gambling on a quick return to the first tier for the 10 time Ligue 1 winners.