David Otto (Pau Lac Orthes): “There is a misunderstanding”

In Bao, the climate is foggy these days. French basketball monument in danger. The National League of (LNB) announced by the financial “policeman”, the senior management board, on Thursday, June 23, the “rejection of commitment” Alain Bernier due to a large unbalanced financial situation and the absence of economic guarantees. for the next season. The club appealed this decision and took away the possibility of an appeal which will be considered by experts from the LNB on July 11.

Owned by Counterpointe Sport Group (CSG), a US investment fund featuring big names in the NBA, such as former Jamal Mashburn, coach Rick Pettino and Stu Jackson, former vice president of the NBA. The nine-time champion of France produced an excellent sporting season (Coupe de France winner, semi-finalist of the qualifiers) but his accounts are in the red, with an estimated gap of €2.5 million (from the declared budget of 7.8), due in large part to the shortcomings of Partnership objectives.

Bayrou says he is helpless

Several weeks ago, the LNB had been asking for guarantees that it did not get, and at once, while a large portion of the workforce left the club, anxiety and anger were growing among Elan’s staff. and the local environment (supporters, elected officials, former players).

At the end of the day, a delegation of supporters met in front of the Bau Municipal Building where the municipal council was meeting, which discussed the topic at the opening for two hours.

The opposition has particularly criticized Mayor Francois Bayrou – who sold the club in June 2021, then into the hands of the community as part of the Mixed Economy Corporation (SEM), for €800,000 in shares, yet to be paid by the buyer – for not owning it. Taking adequate guarantees towards buyers and neglecting the acquisition file submitted by brothers and former players Simon and Thomas Darnozan. “ If there is a club transfer, we will have the possibility (and priority) To offer a buyer who will have to take on debts to society, but for now, there are only hearsay Francois Bayrou, who said he was helpless in the face of the situation, responded.

For his part, CSG President David Otto spoke to the French media a few days ago to express his surprise, to reiterate that all is well and that financial guarantees will convince the LNP Senior Management Board to return the elite club. This is what he told us:

Do you understand why the National League, through its top board, is refusing to appoint you next season?
Give three reasons. First, she criticizes us for not respecting the terms of a letter we sent her in January (2022) Who said we have two million euros in an account. But these criticisms are unfounded. Second, it looks like she wants guarantees (for 2022-2023). It is not the same in France as in the United States, but it does not matter, we are preparing to present it, no problem. Then you ask us to cut our budget (climate prediction). What we did is because we prefer to remain vigilant. There is currently a negative atmosphere with great resistance from players and partners. In short, we intend to inform the LNB that we will be able to provide the required capital, that is, 1.1 million euros, in addition to guarantees, and that we will reduce the budget. We will quickly restore the financial situation.

So there will be a misunderstanding between LNB and Counterpointe Sports Group. why ?
(Laugh) I don’t know…even if someone in the LNB tells me they know Americans well…which I don’t find fair. But yes, there is a misunderstanding. Our project is also an opportunity for LNB and professional basketball whose development in France is under-utilised. There is a very strong basketball culture here and talents that are not properly appreciated by the LNB that is responsible for them. There are no TV contracts or even a matching OTT show… I’m amazed that the system is so fragile. We can help correct and improve it and we have the resources to do so.

Are you optimistic about the appeal scheduled for July 11th?
Yes, if we stick to the league’s requests. Otherwise, I would be surprised if they confirmed the sanctions. »

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