News•Business• 15.10.2020 • Theierry Labro and Duncan Roberts
Gérard Lopez, pictured here on the pitch of Lille Olympique Sporting Club’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy in September 2019, now owns three football clubs in top tier European leagues after finalising a deal for Boavista.
Photo: Patricia Pitsch
According to information received by our sister publication Paperjam, Luxembourg businessman Gérard Lopez has finalised the acquisition of Boavista Futebol Clube.
Based in the city of Porto, Boavista FC currently sits 14th in the Portuguese Primeira Liga after three matches. Gérard Lopez has been interested in buying the club since the spring and last Saturday, at an extraordinary general meeting, the club’s shareholders accepted the transfer of shares from the Portuguese club to Lopez’s Luxembourg company by 299 votes in favour and nine abstentions. The valuation of the club was not revealed at the time of the transaction.
Lopez already owns and is currently president of Lille Olympique Sporting Club in the French Ligue 1. In July he purchased Belgian club Royal Excel Mouscron, who play in the top tier Jupiler Pro League. He was the president of Luxembourg BGL Ligue club Fola Esch until 2017 and remains its honorary president.
As a club owner, Lopez has adopted a policy of buying and nurturing young talent that can later be sold for a profit to bigger clubs. According to Transfermarkt, Boavista’s 30-player squad includes seven current internationals and has an average age of just over 24. Promising youngsters include English-born former Manchester United attacking midfielder Angel Gomes, who is actually on loan from Lille, and American right back Reggie Cannon, who arrived this season from FC Dallas.
They are backed by older players like 34-year old former AC Milan and Marseille defender Adil Rami and former Manchester City and Zenit Saint Petersburg defensive midfielder Javi García. The total transfer value of the squad is estimated to be €32.2 million.
“The idea is that Boavista will be autonomous while benefiting from our expertise in scouting and attracting players,” Lopez told La Voix du Nord at the beginning of July. But he also said he wanted to make the club big in Portugal and to discover new players.
Boavista has struggled to break the domination of the big three clubs in Portugal--FC Porto as well as Benfica and Sporting from Lisbon. Indeed, two weeks ago they suffered a humiliating 0-5 derby defeat at the hands of their city rivals. Although the panthers, as they are known, did win the league title in 2001, they were also caught up in match-fixing that saw the club banished from the top flight for six years before returning in the 2014-15 season.