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Fenway Sports Group (FSG) is looking into a potential purchase of FC Girondins de Bordeaux, a French second division club seeking a new owner.

Bordeaux currently competes in Ligue 2, but could face relegation to the third division for financial reasons if a sale is not finalised within the next two weeks. The club needs a guarantee of its financial security and stability for the 2024/25 season.

Should it be acquired by FSG, Bordeaux would join the multinational sports group’s extensive portfolio of sports brands, with its reach encompassing baseball, ice hockey, football, motor racing (specifically NASCAR) and golf.

The group’s most notable holdings are English football club Liverpool of the Premier League, the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball (MLB) and Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League (NHL).

“Fenway Sports Group has expressed interest in the potential acquisition of French football club Girondins de Bordeaux and is in the early stages of dialogue and engagement,” an FSG statement read.

“While the process is at this exploratory phase, we will not be making any further comment.”

FSG and Bordeaux have been reportedly making the case for a takeover to the Direction Nationale du Contrôle de Gestion (DNCG), France’s football finance authority. This is the same authority which issued Bordeaux with its two-week takeover deadline earlier this week.

Relegation to the third tier National 1 league would only further compound Bourdeux’s financial difficulties, for obvious reasons. The National 1 gains significantly less audience interest than both Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, particularly the former, and so brings significantly less media and sponsorship revenue.

Mounting financial difficulties would make a top-flight comeback for the club, one of the most successful in French history with six national championship title victories, an even more distant possibility – other examples from sporting history show that it is not impossible, however, such as that of Rangers FC in Scotland.

Finances are a recurring talking point in French football, with media rights often an area of contention. 

Tensions have been present in recent years between the sport’s governing bodies and various broadcasters regarding league media rights packages, which has sometimes left Ligue 1 struggling to clinch media deals in the run up to new seasons.

And history is seemingly repeating itself today as Ligue 1 and the French Professional League have yet to agree a domestic broadcast deal for the upcoming season, which kicks off in a month’s time. 

The saga also showcases the importance of finances to football clubs in general, something which has been demonstrated not just in France. 

Across the English channel, Premier League clubs have had to take finances much more seriously due to Profit and Sustainability Rules (PSR), breaches of which have led to points deductions for Everton FC and Nottingham Forest FC last season.

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