Charlton Athletic owner Roland Duchatelet demands EFL buy club

Charlton Athletic owner Roland Duchatelet stunned the Football League today by demanding that the EFL buys the club from him.

The demand, unprecedented and impossible, was made in a lengthy statement Duchatelet wrote on the Charlton website this afternoon. The rest of the statement blamed the EFL for Charlton’s demise under Duchatelet, as well as for Duchatelet’s failure to sell the club.

In response to Duchatelet’s demand that they do something that they would never do, the EFL only issued a terse response: “The EFL can confirm that we have received a request from Charlton Athletic’s majority shareholder Roland Duchatelet, which we will review and subsequently respond to as appropriate.”

The Duchatelet statement, which was written by the owner himself rather than by club officials, comes after he told a Fans Forum on Wednesday night that it is time to “think outside the box” in terms of solutions for the club.

His idea is to hand over the day to day operations and losses of the football club for free – preferably to the EFL – but to retain control of the valuable assets, the Valley and the training ground. This was firmly rejected by Charlton fans last night.

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Charlton have protested against Duchatelet for several years (Getty)

Charlton Athletic has been on the market since late 2017 but Duchatelet has not been able to complete a deal. He paid £18m for the club in 2014 when they were still in the Championship but he has lost millions since and now he is insisting on making all of his money back.

There was an agreement with an Australian consortium last year, and in July 2018 a club representative said that “the only issue holding up the process is EFL approval”.

But haggling continued over the details and now that looks further away than ever. Last night Duchatelet said their consortium is “too complex”. Recently there was a fresh £30m offer from a new consortium which Duchatelet rejected. He still wants close to £70m for the club.

Duchatelet has been accused by Addicks fans of ‘wanting the club to fail’ (Getty)

Duchatelet blames the EFL, rather than himself, for the decline of the club during his five years of ownership. His statement points to the relaxation of the League’s Profitability and Sustainability rules in November 2014, which allowed clubs to lose more money, thereby making it harder for clubs who work on a budget.

He also blamed The Independent for reporting last August on Charlton banning young team players from drinking bottled water at the training ground, a story he described as “fake news”, as well as a story in the Daily Mail about him reneging on staff bonuses.

“It’s hard to deny that such actions could jeopardise the ongoing purchase process,” Duchatelet claimed.

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