Charlton’s Belgian owner calls for foreign investors to steer clear of English football

BY LOUIS MENDEZ

Charlton’s Belgian owner Roland Duchatelet has called for foreign investors to stay away from English football – and has said he should be left alone by protesters. 

The electronics tycoon has also implied he is ready to give the club away for “free,” so long as any new investor pays for the land that the club owns. 

The unpopular Belgian, who has been looking to offload the South Londoners for well over a year without any tangible signs of progress, was reacting after some properties he owns in his home town of Sint Truiden were vandalised with Addicks-related graffiti. 

“Many buildings and private houses of people have been damaged by this graffiti,” Duchatelet told talkSPORT. 

“I think the problem is, the whole system in my mind in England with football is wrong. They should not invite people like myself to become owners of clubs like Charlton or of any other clubs by the way. Because in fact I do spend maybe two per cent of my time on Charlton, I have so many other things to do. I’m not the only one, an owner of a big club, who doesn’t have the time to take care of this.

“I didn’t know [when I purchased the club] it was going to be the case. That’s the reason why I believe that the EFL shouldn’t sell clubs to foreign owners who do not know this kind of thing can happen. For my life it’s been a major mistake to do that. It’s annoying it. It’s not nice. I think it’s totally wrong that foreign people get involved with football. 

“The thing that happened is that my press people were very wrong at the time in managing the situation. That’s the main thing I can say. So in that sense the thing is you cannot control everything. Every club makes mistakes, every manager makes mistakes. So that’s not the problem. The problem is that the situation is just not healthy. It’s just not healthy this approach. I don’t think that foreign owners who have a lot of money should be involved in English football. They should leave these people alone. Leave me alone that’s what I say. I didn’t ask for this. I wanted to have a nice club. The thing is it’s not the fans in general, it’s just a few fans. I don’t know how many. There were two who did [the graffiti] now. Two people. It could be fans I’m not sure. They were pretending in any case.”

An example of the graffiti left on some of Duchatelet’s property in Sint Truiden. Photo: 7sur7

Duchatelet has so far failed to complete his sale of the club to an Australian consortium and claims that a protest by supporters over six months ago has hindered his progress. 

“In my mind what is happening, due to the protests that happened in August, certainly that has put off  to some extent some of the people what would have been in the investor club. Due to this they will probably put themselves in my shoes and say when we are the owners what is the likelihood they will do the same to me. 

“We had an agreement since February. There was an agreement between both parties on the economics. We made agreements, we invested another one hundred thousand or more in legal fees to make the agreements. They just had to submit the agreement to the EFL and then the deal was done. 

“We give the club for free. In addition they get another 20 million if you just look at the value of the land and buildings. The value of the land and the building is so high. It’s not very high comparatively to what you have to pay in London. The real estate, the building and the land, that’s what they have to pay to some extent. Not completely, but to some extent.

“The basis of the way this system works in England is not healthy for foreign investors. That is my main concern. Where I am a foreign investor, why would I want to bring another foreign investor into this mess? That is not my mentality. I am against that.”

10 thoughts on “Charlton’s Belgian owner calls for foreign investors to steer clear of English football

  • 26th February 2019 at 4:04 pm
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    Whilst I like many supporters want to see and end to this saga and the club sold to progressive owners who have the sucess of the club at heart I do not agree with the behaviour of those who think plastering graffiti over property is an acceptable way to force change – it is not.

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  • 26th February 2019 at 4:59 pm
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    I think the chairman lives in cuckoo land why doesn’t he just leave the club and let charlton do what’s best for the club

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  • 26th February 2019 at 6:26 pm
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    We have to disregard MR Duchatelet thoughts on England and investors. He has proved himself flawed since the day he arrived. In fact that was the only day he arrived.
    However I have supported Charlton since 1947. Yes that makes me aged ,but I am has devoted to CAFC as I ever was. What I do not support is vandals who want to impose there activity in the name of our supporters. They have achieved nothing. The publicity is negative and they have not influenced Dechatelet in any way measurable.
    These people do not represent me.

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  • 26th February 2019 at 7:01 pm
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    How can we believe the most destructive owner of any business ever.

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  • 26th February 2019 at 7:07 pm
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    His comments cannot be helpful if he is really intend on selling the club. Are they accurate?Ask any of the other overseas investors in English clubs. Look also at the outpouring of grief when the owner of Leicester City died in that tragic accident. His comments are his view only and have occurred purely as a result of the way he has treated the supporters, viewing them puely as paying customers and taking no interest in providing customer service, quiet unlike the deceased owner of Leicester, who understood the fervour and valued both the residents of Leicester and the supporters as ‘family’. No by his own admission he was only intend on using Charlton as a stud farm to find players for Standard Liege and St Truidan. I believe he has long since sold both clubs, and perhaps if the disease to which he refers is puely an English one, then why has he sold these clubs and why is he on record as saying his investment in football generally was a mistake. As usual he produces a one sided argument which simply does not merit close examination and is typical of the contempt in which he holds the Charlton fan base.

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  • 26th February 2019 at 7:32 pm
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    “Why would l want to bring another foreign investor into this mess”? It is a mess of your own making created by your own gross incompetence, ignorance and naivety. Your mis-management of the club, your greed in seeking to double your money on the sale price, and the way you have recklessly saddled the club with huge debts are probably the real reasons a new buyer will not commit. Your only success has been in turning large sections of Charlton’s usually mild-mannered, well behaved and fair minded supporters against you. Even your pathetic attempts to re-write history has been exposed as a sham. That is unless your name is Jim White!

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  • 26th February 2019 at 8:14 pm
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    You wanted a nice club where fans wouldn’t mind you sending the best players to Standard Liege Roland! My grandkids are the 6th generation in my family to support Charlton, & I’m not the only 1 who can say that in the Charlton community! We want a club that wins things, not just a nursery club for you. Who wants to play in Belgium anyway!? Not even Belgians!

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  • 27th February 2019 at 9:10 am
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    I have been surporter of Charlton for years since i left the Army in the 60s and held a season ticket for years , two seasons ago was the last time i went and will only go back when the Duck has gone sorry but i will not put money into his pocket.

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  • 27th February 2019 at 12:58 pm
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    The EFL shouldn’t allow any investors foreign or otherwise who do not understand that football clubs belong to their community and their ownership is as stewards for the local community. All good company owners take responsibility for the interests of their customers and employees. Duchatelet has not understood this with Charlton and this combined with his (and his chosen employees) incompetence and ignorance when it comes to English football have been a complete disaster for Charlton – he needs to go now and stop his pathetic lecturing,

    Reply

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