Clermont Foot: Ahmet Schaefer – Jérôme Champagne, the reasons for the divorce

These two love each other very much. In any case the image they send back and to the public. Schaefer-Champagne, Champagne-Schaefer. Communion, smiles and fellowship. One leads the club from afar, from Switzerland, but never misses an opportunity to show his constant communication enthusiasm, especially through social networks. Another, armed arm of the chief and sworn “adviser to the president” for three years the operational figurehead (along with the prudent Yannick Flavien) of a project that was carried out equally. We could not have put a blade of grass between the two.

But that was before. The facade recently exploded and both parts were destroyed last week. Seen at the resumption of training on June 29, we were really surprised because the long absence of Jérôme Champagne, usually follows the team as quickly as possible. A withdrawal that appeared more suspicious in Aurillac on Saturday in the last match of the preparation against Toulouse.

On the sidelines of other topics of tension between the two parties, the stormy departure of defender Hountondji from Angers seems to be the breaking point. President Schaefer says he “respects the word given to the player to allow him to leave in 2022” after he was asked to stay last season after promotion. In this, the two men seem to agree, but for Champagne, “this exit voucher is an interesting offer. Not to go to a competitor for maintenance”.

5% of shares?

At this point Champagne said that he understood that “the collegial and original direction” that prevailed until then “is broken. He now makes decisions alone, it has become a vertical system”. The press release of the club, signed Champagne, will serve as casus belli. For his part, without denying “the painful side of any separation”, Ahmet Schaefer preferred the preamble to salute the work of his late sidekick: “He has done a great job in the last three years. I want to keep the best moments and the emotions experienced. In every household, when there is a separation, it is not easy,” the boss just dropped.

“I’m not leaving the club, I’m fired”

Jerome Champagne (Ex-Advisor of Ahmet Schaefer)

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It is not certain that this hat trick will be enough to calm down the former advisor to the now tough-toothed president. He even forgot the constant calm tone that this trained diplomat inevitably took in every speech: “I will not leave Clermont Foot, which would have been the greatest adventure of my life, even before diplomacy, the adventure of the 1998 World Cup, or FIFA. . No, I’m not leaving the club, I’m fired! It’s unbelievable”.

There is no discussion between Lucas Da Cunha (Nice) and Clermont Foot

If the Hountondji affair may appear as the final dispute that binds the break between the two men, the financial dispute is clearly not far away and can be seen as the Gordian knot of the affair. Jérôme Champagne reiterated in the will that the president promised him at the start of their common adventure “that (we) will pay 5% of the shares to me and to Yannick (Flavien, another major advisor of the club). This is a broken promise. I know I’ll never see that money again.” To listen to him, we also think that the differences are not new. “What I said could get me a case of blasphemy, but we (in agreement with Flavien) did everything to hide some facts. He wasn’t there. Often, we are asked: “But where is the president?” “.

And Champagne to cite another example of deep disagreements in the failed acquisition file of the Danish club Vendsyssel FF, sold very quickly with losses of support. The disgraced leader also accused his former boss “of wanting to break up the club’s French recruitment sector. We are against it, especially when we know the quality of work done over the years by Philippe Vaugeois and his teams”.

Contacted instead, Yannick Flavien could not be reached. But from a reliable source close to the club, he is part of the project currently led by Ahmet Schaefer and therefore remains moored at the club. For his part, Ahmet Schaefer does not want to add to this, believing “that things no longer suit Jérôme but that the club is above all”.

“I want to remember our good times. Jérôme Champagne has worked a lot for this club”

Ahmet Schaefer (President of Clermont Foot)

Refusing to “go into details” and rejecting any idea of ​​unpacking “in the public square”, the boss of Core Sports Capital, the holding company that manages Clermont Foot and the Austrian club Lustenau, did not to continue. But while Champagne, beyond his presence throughout the 38 days of L1 last season, is a major local interlocutor, especially with institutions and politicians, the man in Zurich does not close the door “on a possible recruitment”.

This is the club’s first major crisis since its takeover in March 2019, a week before the resumption of the championship.

Valery Lefort

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