Belgian football is more than ever in exotic billionaire hands. So what makes Belgium so attractive? In an article by Sporza.be, Thomas Peeters, Sports Economist at Erasmus School of Economics, answers this question.
Over half of the Belgian professional football clubs are currently in foreign hands. Why do the exotic billionaires come to Belgium in their private jets? ‘Mainly because it is possible’, says Peeters. ‘In our country there are no restrictions on buying clubs, like in Germany. You buy one like you buy a business.’
According to the article, the financial difficulties of certain clubs, such as Beerschot and Cercle Brugge in the past, are also reasons why the door is wide open for foreign help. ‘Often these are teams that would never be able to generate enough income on their own. Nor are there any regulations on what you can do with clubs and players, such as a minimum wage for foreign players,’ adds Peeters.
Some now fear that the many takeovers by foreigners will affect the identity of Belgian clubs. But Peeters does not see a foreign takeover so black and white. ‘The nationality of a new owner is not important, but his plans are,' he says. ‘There are many foreign buyers with good intentions and an excellent policy.’