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Duchâtelet sells Standard Liege

Standard Liege announced that Roland Duchâtelet has sold the club today for, you’ve guessed it, an undisclosed fee. What this means for Charlton is any bodies guess.

Bruno Venanzi, who owns Belgium utility company Lampiris and is a life-long fan, has taken over Standard with immediate effect.

The Standard fans unsurprisingly are rejoicing at the sudden news of Duchâtelet’s departure, brought on if I got the translation correct of his difficult relationship with the supporters and the fact that the 68-year old is not getting any younger. “The quality of my life, my personal happiness play an important role in my life” Duchâtelet said.

The more cynical point to the a meeting of the Belgium Pro League to be held this weekend to discuss the promotion of network club Saint Truiden (STVV) to the top tier to join Standard. One person owning two clubs in the same division is not allowed in Belgium but Duchâtelet said “The rise of Saint Truiden has played no role in this auction and whether the STVV had not joined the D1, I will still have sold the club.”

At this League meeting Duchâtelet would have been forced to clarify his relationship with STVV, owned officially by his long term partner, but considered to be the club he has the biggest heart for, like his cohort Katrien Meire.

The other question left hanging at the press conference is to the whereabouts of 20 million euros that Duchâtelet took out of the club in 2013 with the intention of injecting them back into the club. Some journalists have suggested that this money financed his purchase of Charlton, Jena and Alcorcon.

When pushed on the topic of the 20 million euros he was particularly evasive “The Standard has generated profits for years. The way you manage the club depends on the power of shareholders. It had a surplus. I have no further comments on that.”

Charlton fans may need not question the owners next move as he added in the press conference that he “will stay in football. But not in Belgian football.” However Duchâtelet is so unpredictable and talks in such sound bites that I have never had any clear insight of his objectives, and that is further clouded today.

Some with glorious hindsight and upon watching with rose coloured spectacles our charge away from relegation last season called the fans meeting in Woolwich a pointless exercise. I would say that those concerns raised that evening have not been answered.

Most importantly where does this leave our summer acquisition plan? One would have to think going on historical information that Standard would have provided at least a few of our new signings, and by my reckoning we need another 10, either by loan or permanent moves. Frederic Bulot was expected to sign on a permanent but will Standard’s new owner sanction that?

One Charlton incoming that does have some legs is that of striker Tom De Sutter. Belgium born, the tall 29 year old plays for Club Brugge and Katrien is believed to have made them an offer.

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