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The acquisition of RC Strasbourg: What can fans expect?

Julien Farhat

FOT: Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace. Angelo Gabriel. RC Strasbourg Player On-Loan from Chelsea.


Introduction


Two months ago, RC Strasbourg was acquired by Chelsea FC owner Todd Boehly and his Clearlake Capital consortium for around £65m. The French club is now part of Boehly’s multi-club network vision.

While this news can seem exciting for some fans, others have their reasons to be more skeptical.


Reasons to be optimistic:


1. Increased financial resources

Under the new ownership, Strasbourg RC is poised to benefit from increased financial resources, enabling them to make improvements across various aspects. After the appointment of renowned coach Patrick Vieira, the club will enhance its competitive edge within the transfer market. Up to this point, Strasbourg has invested more than 56 million euros in acquiring new players, with the transfer window set to close on September 2nd. Noteworthy among these moves is the acquisition of Abakar Sylla from Club Brugge KV for approximately 20 million euros, a signing that stands as the highest transfer fee in the history of the French club.


2. Shared resources with Chelsea F.C

Strasbourg RC will additionally have the advantage of utilizing shared resources, encompassing training facilities, scouting networks, backroom staff, and players to enhance overall efficiency. Specifically, the club will have the chance to tap into the expertise and potential young players from Chelsea F.C., aiding in their ongoing progress and growth. The case of Angelo Gabriel (18 years old), who is on loan from Chelsea F.C., serves as a prime illustrative example.


3. The case of RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig

The case of RB Salzburg and RB Leipzig provides encouraging indicators. Despite being owned by the Red Bull conglomerate, these two teams operate under distinct management structures and compete in separate leagues. Their performance over the last six years has been highly promising, characterized by strong showings in their respective leagues and consistent participation in the Champions League.


4. The Promising Beginning to the Season

With three matches contested in Ligue 1, Strasbourg secured victories in two encounters (versus Lyon and Toulouse), while experiencing defeat against top-four contenders AS Monaco. These outcomes provide an optimistic outlook for what lies ahead.



Reasons to be skeptical:


1. Significant efforts are required to address the situation

Despite spending nearly 56 million euros during this transfer market, Strasbourg RC will consistently remain in the shadow of Chelsea F.C when it comes to selecting players. The performance of the team over the past five seasons unequivocally indicates that there is considerable work to be done in order to excel in Ligue 1. This becomes even more apparent due to the heightened competitiveness of the league.



2. UEFA Guidelines for Clubs Owned by the Same Entity

UEFA, the governing body of European football, maintains stringent guidelines concerning club ownership, specifically focusing on conflicts of interest, and ensuring equitable competition. Individuals or entities owning multiple clubs must guarantee adherence to these regulations, as failure to do so could result in penalties and financial sanctions. In other words, the prospective participation of both Strasbourg RC and Chelsea F.C. in the same European competition could pose a substantial concern for both teams.


3. Past American ownership

With the introduction of new American investors, a significant number of supporters may establish notable associations with the previous American owners IMG-McCormack. Back in 2001, unfavorable outcomes resulted in Strasbourg's relegation, leading to a deterioration in the relationship between ownership and supporters.


4. Other multi-club ownership examples: City Football Group

The acquisition of Troyes F.C. by the City Football Group (CFG) serves as another potential deterrent for Strasbourg fans. The club became part of CFG's portfolio of football clubs in September 2020. However, despite spending 21 and 24 million euros on new players in the subsequent two seasons (as per Transfermarkt), the team landed in the 15th and 19th positions, signifying relegation to Ligue 2.


Conclusion


In conclusion, the acquisition of RC Strasbourg by Todd Boehly's Clearlake Capital consortium introduces both promises and reservations. The infusion of financial resources and shared expertise presents exciting prospects, while Strasbourg's historical performance and the examples of Troyes F.C. and UEFA regulations call for cautious optimism. The journey ahead will test the club's ability to navigate challenges and fulfill aspirations, underscoring the delicate balance between ambition and reality in modern football ownership.

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