France Bleu Béarn Bigorre: What was your reaction when you learned of the association’s decision?
David Otto: At first I was disappointed. Then I read the reasons why the university made this decision and found it unfair. I therefore wrote to the League in response explaining that these reasons are unfounded and inappropriate, to appeal.
Why are we talking about an unfair decision?
League gives three reasons. The first is that we would not honor the commitments made in a letter we sent to the Association last January in which we demonstrated our ability to raise Ilan’s capital. They are wrong. We have sufficient funds in our accounts to guarantee the shortfall (estimated between 1 and 3 million euros, editor’s note). We had it last season and we’ll face them next season. We mentioned a 2 million euro contribution. 1 million this year.
The second is that CSG will not give a guarantee and again this is not true. The league has told us that we are ready to maintain our commitments in the club’s capital this year. So this is unfair.
Finally, there will be a risk of not meeting the planned budget for the 2022-2023 season. We are aware that there are economic risks, but we are prepared to face them. Next season’s budget is more “conservative” than last season’s budget (about 5.5 million compared to 7 million last season). We will achieve our sponsorship goals and put a competitive team on the field. We have the coach, the players and everyone’s support to make it happen.
How do you intend to prove to the league that you can reduce the deficit?
Are we ready to stick to our January commitments? Yes, we have proven it and we will continue. We will reduce the deficit because we have money in our accounts. We will prove it.
The City of Bau says it will seek refunds no matter what. What do you think?
We reached an agreement to buy back the shares sold by the metropolitan areas of Pau and Lacq-Orthez, but the pre-existing obligations emerged after the transaction. Thus the price had to be reduced, as in any transaction. I’m not saying there was bad faith, but the contract allows us to ask for a lower purchase price. It was agreed (with the city of Pau) to increase it from 800,000 euros to 600,000 euros. What remains is to agree on the terms of payment.
Many people are frustrated and angry with you, what do you say to them?
I came to France, Pau and Paris to find a solution. I’m sorry they were disappointed, I’m trying to make things work. The company I own has invested more in The Elan as a private investor than anyone else in the history of this club. We’ve invested more in capital than anyone else… forever, because this club exists! So if people are disappointed…I’m sorry. And if they want to trade with us, may God bless them. And I don’t ask them either. I’m trying to make things work! We’ll see what the league does, but I don’t understand the logic that led them to make that decision.
I don’t make league decisions
What will happen from your point of view if the university confirms its decision?
I’m not there yet. There are still solutions before we get there.
Are you leaving the club?
We didn’t talk about it. Asking these questions is faster than music. It’s not something I’m into right now.
Will Ilan be in the elite next season?
It is not up to me. I don’t make league decisions. We intend to maintain the club’s financial support and are prepared to continue taking economic risks. There is evidence that we have money in our account.