Crystal Palace co-owner David Blitzer is attempting to take a 100% controlling stake in Belgian side KV Oostende, according to local reports.
Oostende are currently sitting second bottom of the Jupiler Pro League, Belgium’s top division, but things are now on hold after play was suspended because of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
Despite their low standing, Blitzer has already made one effort to buy the club, but is €5.5m bid to assume control was rejected by current chairman Frank Dierckens as he wanted to remain on the board as a minority shareholder.
But Blitzer, who owns 18% of Palace, as well as co-owning New Jersey Devils of the NHL and the Philadelphia 76ers of the NBA over in the United States, is now set to launch another bid to help the club avoid bankruptcy.
His previous bid is thought to have been turned down because Dierckens suspected former chairman – and current Anderlecht owner Marc Coucke – was involved in some way, but that assertion has not been proven. Palace’s co-owner is now back with his Spanish business partner Ivan Bravo, and Het Nieuwsblad report that he will be offering a reduced amount to get the job done – but is confident that Dierckens may be forced to accept.
An initial €1m offer is thought to be the figure in mind, some €4.5m less than the bid that was turned down just three months ago. It’s claimed that Dierckens would prefer to pocket an additional €2m ‘to somehow limit the financial hangover’, but negotiations are yet to formally get underway.
Oostende is a small town on the coast of Belgium near Bruges, and the club’s stadium capacity is more than 10% of the population. It seems that living beyond the club’s means, together with significant debts accrued by former chairman Coucke, could rob the people of Oostende their football club unless Blitzer flies in to save the day.