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Ligue 1: Olympique Lyonnais struggles against its downgrading


Olympique Lyonnais embodies a surprising paradox. Valued at nearly 800 million euros when it was bought by the American John Textor in December 2022 – a record for a French club – OL is at the same time experiencing a sporting downgrade that it had not experienced since. 25 years.

Owner of its large stadium, gleaming infrastructure, an American women’s soccer franchise and soon a multi-purpose Arena, Lyon is an economic juggernaut. Ninth in Ligue 1 at the end of the 19e day, seventh in 2020 and eighth in 2022, the club of President Jean-Michel Aulas, which travels to Ajaccio, Sunday January 29 at 5:05 p.m., no longer has anything of a sporting giant, or of Formula 1 that boasted the leader a few years ago. “We may have the beautiful bodywork of a Ferrari with magnificent infrastructure, but there are big gaps in the engine, the sports sector”asserts Sidney Govou, former glory of the club.

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A finding that the leaders of Lyon refute. “We recognize a difficult passage, we contest the downgrading in the medium or long term”pleads Vincent Ponsot, general manager of football. Also interviewed by The world, President Jean-Michel Aulas explains, optimistically: “We have had poorer results for two or three years, but this is not a sporting downgrade. We know why and we have clearly identified the causes. We just corrected and it will start again. »

Read also: Ligue 1: Peter Bosz fired, Laurent Blanc appointed new OL coach

Badly embarked in 2023 (17 podium points before the 20e day), the Gones could however miss for the third time in four seasons a European qualification. In Lyon, players and coaches pass – appointed during the season, Laurent Blanc is the fifth coach in six years – the poor performances remain. How OL, the flagship club of the beginning of the 21ste century in France, did it end up evoking a drunken boat more than a racing sailboat?

Bruno Cheyrou, future sports director

After a home defeat in Ligue 1 on January 14 against Strasbourg, the groups of supporters did not limit themselves to incriminating certain players. They called for the resignations of the technical adviser and director of recruitment Bruno Cheyrou and Vincent Ponsot. “Monsieur Ponsot, it’s high time to leave the sport and return to your first love”proclaimed the ultras on a banner, recalling that, for ten years, the leader was in charge of legal affairs as deputy general manager of the club.

Jean-Michel Aulas did not taste this discontent targeting his trusted men. “The kops can have an opinion on the players. It is their right, said the now deputy president – ​​since the sale of the club. But let them attack leaders who are exemplary. It is me they are attacking…”

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