Lille OSC president Gérard Lopez has a history of investing in sport, with Fola Esch football club and the Lotus Formula 1 team
(photo : Sven Becker)
Lopez team can't buy new players
Struggling French football club Lille OSC, which was taken over by Luxembourg businessman Gérard Lopez earlier this year, has been banned from recruiting new players.
The French football league (LFP) announced the transfer ban on Tuesday following a hearing before French football's financial watchdog, the DNCG. French sports daily “L’Equipe” reported The LFP has not said how long the ban will be in place, but the club will definitely not be allowed to buy any new players in the January transfer window. The ban is a blow to Lille, who had ambitions to finish in the top five this season but now face a relegation battle. The club currently sits 18th in the 20-team Ligue 1, although, in what is a very tight league, they are also only three points behind 11th placed Amiens.
The club won the league and club double as recently as 2011, but have since failed to live up to that promise and have often ended up selling their best players to teams in the English premier league. Lopez had been linked with buying Olympique de Marseille in the summer of 2016, but when that deal fell through he turned his attention to Lille. Ironically, when Lopez was slated to buy Marseille there was talk of him announcing the return of Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa to the club. That never happened and Bielsa ended up at Lazio Rome, but he was recruited by Lille in May this year. However, following the disappointing start to the season, Bielsa has been suspended by the club as they seek to sack the coach for serious misconduct. According to reports, club and coach are locked in a battle over financial compensation due to the former Marseille coach.