Norodom Ravichak, declared candidate for the takeover of AS Saint-Etienne, could well hide China in its offer. The sale of the ASSE is decided this Friday.
ASSE Sale: The letter of intent signed by Prince Amarithivong
Site Warning Trading, specialized in information on financial scams, reveals to have had access to the confidential letter of intent signed by one of the 13 crown princes of Cambodia. This letter is contained in the proposed takeover of the ASSE of Norodom Ravichak.
The letter is signed by Norodom Amarithivong, one of Norodom Ravichak’s brothers, who is also vice-president of “Royal Future International”, a company linked to the Royal Group, the main fund for the management of the Cambodian royal fortune.
Norodom Amarithivong wants to connect AS Saint-Etienne to the commercial network of China
“By partnering with AS Saint-Étienne, we intend to connect the club to our commercial and sports network in China to position ASSE to a whole new level”, specifies the document. Before specifying : “Through our close relationship with the Chinese Ministry of Sports and the Chinese Football Federation, we intend to promote the football brand and heritage of Saint-Étienne to more Chinese companies seeking to develop their image abroad.”
The offer of Norodom Ravichak is a Chinese attempt to increase the list of acquisitions of strategic goods in France and even in Europe. Several goods are already on the acquisition table of China. Farmlands, the famous Club Med, the hotel establishments Campanile, Kyriad or Première Classe, but also the Airport of Toulouse-Blagnac. Nearly 150 châteaux from Bordeaux, Lanvin, Aosta, Justin Bridou and Cochonou are on the list of Chinese purchases in France.
Football, the new strategic target of the People’s Republic of China
The takeover of football clubs in Europe is part of the vast strategy of the Chinese. They aim to strengthen the weight of the Middle Kingdom in international football bodies. FC Sochaux, which has already passed under the Chinese flag, is at the heart of this strategy.
“Football has become increasingly popular in China and even in Southeast Asia. It has become a strategic priority for Beijing”, according to the Cambodian prince in his letter of intent. The redemption of the ASSE is presented by this letter as a link in a chain to allow “the People’s Republic of China to host the World Cup in the near future”, as did Qatar, future organizer of the 2022 Football World Cup, the 22nd edition.
17 companies and 22 Chinese brands cited
To further enhance its profile in the eventual purchase of AS Saint-Etienne, Norodom Amarithivong highlights the privileged links that its group would maintain with nearly 17 large companies and 22 Chinese brands “interested in promoting their image abroad through ambassadors such as AS Saint-Etienne”.
Chinese heavyweights in the sale of ASSE
To appear as one of the most credible candidates competing in the sale of the ASSE, Norodom Ravichak reveals his strengths. Names of major Chinese companies at his side filter. On this list, we find well-known brands like Haier, TCL, Xiaomi or Huawei that could be displayed in the colors of Sainté. The group of Norodom Ravichak ends the letter with an estimate of the publicity fallout that the club could hope for from this partnership with China. “The estimated sponsorship ( … ) will amount to $ 5 million for the first year of cooperation, and will increase by $ 10 million or more each year to $ 100 million in sponsorship throughout a multi-year plan.”
We still remain well away from PSG whose new managers had not hesitated to inject hundreds of millions of euros into the operation of the club shortly after its acquisition. Norodom Ravichak, who could win the battle for the takeover of ASSE, plans to rely on his Chinese network.
Redemption of the ASSE, no ambiguity on the origin of the funds
Norodom Ravichak has never really made a mystery about the Chinese origin of a part of the funds that will allow him to win the takeover of ASSE. However, he presents his takeover project as a personal ambition. He presents himself as able to bring sufficient means to realize his ambitions which are to allow Saint-Etienne to climb to the top on the list of major French football clubs.
The Cambodian businessman says he intends to create football academies of AS Saint-Etienne in his country. “I am thinking in particular of developing academies, ASSE’s strong point, in my country, Cambodia, and in other countries of the Asian continent”, he states at the end of his letter of intent.
ASSE Sale: Shares of Norodom Ravichak
Under Warning Trading, a source confirms that Norodom Ravichak could in fact be only a minority financial partner, even very minority, in this project to buy back ASSE. He would only be a straw man in charge of facilitating the takeover of a major French football club by Chinese interests.
The Royal Future lnternational Cambodia Holdings Group, a candidate for the acquisition of ASSE, is presented as playing an important role. However, if Norodom Amarithivong is indeed director of the board and one of the directors of Royal Future lnternational, it is alongside Chinese Huang Gang, Wang Zhiyuan, Yang Di or Zhong Tianfei that he should make his decisions.
There sale of the club should make up your mind next Friday. We will know if the club will really move into a new dimension promised by Norodom Ravichak and his communicators. We’ll then see if any newcomers do better than Roland Romeyer and his partner Bernard Caiazzo.