“I have no regrets about this project,” said Mouscron President Patrick Declrk

Mouscron should be rejected by the licensing commission to remain at the professional level …

In the first session, it is not a surprise. We must first prove continuity and release a certain number of debts. For four months, Gérard Lopez has been using his personal money to cover salaries, which I greatly appreciate. He went far beyond his obligations. You can not continue to finance personally with lost funds. The goal is to find a buyer or a partner. Many people bother me in Belgium because we did not pass this first session. As a student, I always succeeded in the first semester, but many of my classmates succeeded …

Mouscron should be rejected by the licensing commission to remain at the professional level …

In the first session, it is not a surprise. We must first prove continuity and release a certain number of debts. For four months, Gérard Lopez has been using his personal money to cover salaries, which I greatly appreciate. He went far beyond his obligations. You can not continue to finance personally with lost funds. The goal is to find a buyer or a partner. Many people bother me in Belgium because we did not pass this first session. As a student, I always succeeded in the first session, but many of my classmates succeeded in the second, and they did well.

How high is the debt?

This is internal club data.

According to you, the situation is mainly due to this famous agreement signed in July 2020 with Losc, which paid only two million out of the four planned for 2020-2021?

Absolutely, that was the beginning of problems for us, although it does not please Mr Létang (President of Losc, editor’s note). But that is the reality. The agreement was reached between the two clubs, independently of the shareholding (by Gérard Lopez). This obligation should have been respected. Sir. Létang finds the amount exaggerated, but players have been put forward and sold well, as has Koffi (goalkeeper sold to Charleroi last summer for around 500,000 euros, Ed). Well, he does not talk about that.

Will the situation be resolved in court?

I always prefer a bad deal rather than a good try. But it requires two people. On the Losc side, we pull the cover too much. We could not find a deal, I regret it, as we were not far apart. I’m guessing the club says they will keep a hard line. I’ve been a business manager for 40 years, it’s not me who needs to be taught how to make faces. It is already in (commercial) court. There is no worse deaf person than one who does not want to hear. Losc play Champions League, they had ways to unblock the situation in Mouscron. If we had these two million, we would never have experienced these current worries.

Does the club absolutely have to be sold to survive?

Yes and no. This would be the ideal solution. If it is not sold, I’m sure Gérard Lopez will not let us down and that he will find an intermediate solution, as he has been doing for four months.

Do you have a guarantee that Gérard Lopez will allow the club to stay alive if no buyer shows up?

None. But since I know him, he has kept everything he promised. We have a common interest: I am looking for continuity, and he still invested personal money through his structures (Ed.note: Jogo Bonito). He’s being released as a serial killer when he’s not at all.

The salary he pays out of pocket does this represent additional debt for the club?

It’s current account and it makes sense to me. But if you know a Santa who donates, give me his number and I’ll call him right after you.

Do you understand the concerns of the players and staff?

As long as they understand ours. As president, I seek continuity. Among the players, some still have a body and team spirit, but I can see that many only look after their private interests, their own salary and not much else. Sometimes it shocks me. But I do not want to generalize. As for the employees, they are the first ones we are fighting for. At the time of the first financial problems, I have always asked that they be paid first. Because for them, it hurts, it’s their everyday life. Although young players need it too.

When Gérard Lopez bought the club in the summer of 2020, was he the only one in the line?

He was the only one who could save the club at that time. We preferred the Losc course because we had had a first experience that had gone very well (the Little Club had already been the majority shareholder from 2012 to 2015, Ed). I did not know Gérard Lopez. Other club leaders led us to his tracks. It came as a lifesaver when our former shareholder no longer wanted to invest money. We did not look at other tracks from the moment that was his interest. He had a fantastic project: in the absence of a professional reserve championship in France, he wanted to show young people in Mouscron. He is today accused of wanting to sell the club, but I was the business manager. When a company no longer matches the strategy … This was the case from the day Gérard Lopez left Losc.

Sportingly, the first season ended in relegation. What went wrong and what should have been done differently?

We may have put an excessive amount of resources into the organization, but Gérard Lopez fully assumed his responsibility: “we went down and I’m taking it on”. He said this to the board. We grew too fast and with too many resources, which would be logical in France, but not in Belgium given the budget of a small team. Mouscron in the first division is like David against Goliath: ten million against Anderlecht at 50 or Bruges at 70. But there are not only negatives in this experience. We also learned homework.

Which ones?

Already it with staying in D1B. We no longer have the salaries we had last season. We checked things out again. Last year, it was entirely the responsibility of Gérard Lopez’s team. This year it was taken over by the whole club’s organization, which was already in place in Mouscron.

Gérard Lopez only came to Mouscron once to buy the club. Do you regret that he was no longer present?

Absolutely not. I know Gérard Lopez is very busy. He could hardly be in Mouscron every week. I was his Mouscron representative with Paul Allaerts (the club’s general manager until last summer, editor’s note). I get criticized for defending it, but it sticks to the shell of my indifference. Give me a plan B. I have nothing to blame Gérard Lopez other than this excess of funds in players and salaries last year. It was a mistake, but he said he took it completely.

Did the project with Losc seem cohesive to you?

For me, yes. The French, you are a fantastic country, you like to come and show us what to do, but from time to time you also get dirty. This project brought us players, enabled us to professionalize our organization. And we are in a cross-border project between two countries that, even though they tease each other, really like each other. We had things to gain. A few years after the 2024 Olympics, it was all very cohesive. And on the French side, the young shot got to play in a championship that is not easy. We are not fools.

Has the club’s identity not disappeared a bit with this project, this team consisting of players from Lille?

I want to answer you what Mitterrand replied when he was told about Mazarine: ‘So what?’. Me, I do not have a problem with that. Or we play in the third amateur section with the butcher and baker from Mouscron. These followers have lots of opinions and live in emotions. I’m rational. How to keep Futuro (the training center, Ed) alive with 550 players, a very good reputation, with a club in the third division? I can not be emotional and I know I’m to blame. I have been chairman for six years, in history there are not many who have gone five years in D1A and one in D1B. On this project I have no regrets.

Still, Mouscron is a secondary victim of the completion of Gérard Lopez’s project in Lille …

None. Gérard Lopez had a project in Lille. Honestly, if he had told me last June that he wanted to leave Mouscron, I could have accepted it. But we are at the end of March the year after, he is still there and he has not let us down. He tucked the money out of his own pockets. We should rather thank him.

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