Pinned by the league for financial reasons, the Béarnais club could be relegated as an amateur. A potential boon for Orléans Loiret Basket, demoted to Pro B on the wire a month ago. And a question of fairness, according to Olivier Rouet, president of the OLB.
The Pau-Orthez basketball club, a historic pillar of French sport, has just been denied the right to play in Elite and Pro B for financial reasons. The National Directorate of Control and Management Council (DNCCG) of the National Basketball League has recorded the demotion of the Béarnais club to National for the 2022-2023 season.
Enough to potentially do business for Orléans Loiret Basket, relegated from Elite to Pro B despite their victory against Gravelines on May 17. If the Élan Béarnais were effectively ejected from the two professional leagues, the OLB could find in extremis a place at the top of the French basket.
Despite everything, in the authorities of the Orleans club, we remain relatively cautious. “It’s not us who have control, we just have to follow the legal sequence of events“, breathes Olivier Rouet, president of the OLB since the beginning of 2022. And then, “we are not going to keep them harmed“.
However, the information having leaked in the press seems to have somewhat annoyed him: the Pau club would thus record a hole in the fund close to 3 million euros, on an annual budget of 7.8 million. “It’s mind-blowing, it’s a huge deficit, we’re not talking about 30,000 euros here, it’s as if 30 million were missing from the budget of a football club“, launches Olivier Rouet.
For him, the problem is no longer so sporting:
Sportingly, they shone, and we went down. But there is a matter of fairness which concerns us, and which also concerns the other clubs. The rules have to be respected, that’s why there are controls. 3 million is so huge that it may explain the severity of the sanction.Olivier Rouet, president of Orléans Loire Basket
Without saying so, the president almost speaks of a backlash: succeeding without respecting the opponent, in the end, it doesn’t pay off. Especially since a resentment set in between Pau and Orléans at the end of the last season, when the Béarn club managed to recover Giovan Oniangue, winger behind the rise of the OLB in Elite in 2019. . “He was with us and he left there because we couldn’t match the salary“, remembers, somewhat accusingly, Olivier Rouet.
His only request, now, is that”the financial rules, which are the same for everyone, are respected“.
The Pau club – nine-time champion of France, winner of a Korac Cup and four French Cups – has eight days to file a request for an informal appeal to challenge the decision of the National Basketball League. The DNCCG is asking him for a million euros in guarantee, which Pau-Orthez wants to spread over three years via a loan. The remaining two million would ultimately be distributed through a drop in spending from last season. “They’ve been playing short-staff all season, so it’s true that their budget must be closer to 6 million than 8 million.“, explains Gabriel Pantel-Jouve, editor-in-chief of BeBasketsite specializing in the French basket.
Like (perhaps) Elan Béarnais, other clubs have been able to go down as amateurs for financial difficulties. This was the case of Hyères-Toulon VB which, riddled with debts, had to sell its license to Paris Basket Avenir, while the sports association went down to National. But, even in this case, the sums were not comparable to the current case of Pau-Orthez, according to Gabriel Pantel-Jouve. “Today, in reality, there is no certainty about the future of the clubhe adds. In any case, the leaders seem confident.“
Orléans Loiret Basket will have to wait a little longer before knowing its fate, at least for the 2022-2023 season. A soap opera could start this summer if the case is brought before the French Basketball Federation, or even before the National Olympic Committee.