V Švici rešili elitnega ligaša Kloten Flyers, ki je mel dobre 9mil.€ minusa.
Je kr poučno branje, naučte se kej Jesničani, kako pa kaj
When the club, after several delays, presented its financial figures at the end of May, it was virtually clinically dead. More than half of the annual budget was not funded, causing a record loss of 7.9 million Swiss Francs (€6.6m) and an increase of the debt to 10.9 million Swiss Francs (€9.1m).
The club from Kloten, a Zurich suburb mostly known for the international airport, had its primetime in the ‘90s when it won four straight championships between 1993 and 1996, and in the process getting the nickname “Flüger”. It later made it to the official club name when it was Americanized to Kloten Flyers rather than the old EHC Kloten.
But the club has been going through difficult times ever since the end of the ‘90s when its main sponsor Swissair folded. A retired hotelier, Peter Bossert, saved the club in 2001 before selling it to Jürg Bircher, a real-estate businessman, in 2008.
Already during Bossert’s era the owner was complaining about an annual “base loss” of up to one million Francs he had to cover each year. The club’s trademark was developing many young players, but the payroll was constantly too high.
Under Bircher the situation got worse with a careless payroll increase over the years. It resulted in two final appearances, but not in healthy finances. In the end the Bircher imperium seemed to fall apart while the stream of red ink was becoming a river.
Bircher tried to sell his shares to a potential new owner, who later claimed being cheated with false numbers indicating financial stability. That made the disastrous economic situation public.
The news was a shock not only for the fans in this region around the city of Zurich, but also for Swiss hockey in general. Kloten has been an important contributor of talent both to the league and the national team, and it’s the club that has been in the top league for more consecutive years than any other, since gaining promotion in 1962.
With the mountain of debt, the club became a case for the bankruptcy court and it was close to expulsion from the league. There were two choices: Try to rescue the organization financially and continue playing in the league under the same legal entity, or to restructure with a new entity, which would mean that Kloten would have to start from the bottom tier league.
Despite the gloomy prospects, several people and groups in and around the club fought a battle almost as hopeless as the Greek financial crisis to avoid the Flyers’ imminent grounding. Fan clubs collected money, as did the players themselves (while waiting for salaries since April), also assisted by local entrepreneurs. They came together in a task force led by former club owner Bossert, who co-ordinated all efforts.
Federation President Gaydoul at the rescue
In June, very unexpectedly, a new investor was found in billionaire Philippe Gaydoul, who on top of everything suddenly found himself in a severe conflict of interest as he has been the President of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation for the past three years.
Together with banker Thomas Metter, the duo announced they would be willing to take over the club if a massive debt reduction could be reached and the shares, or at least the qualified majority of voting rights, be transferred to them.
After weeks of fighting for the club with the fans not knowing if they would have a team to cheer for, the biggest rescue operation in Swiss hockey history concluded with a happy end last week.
2.9 million Francs (€2.4m) were raised by various supporting groups, and several parties were willing to write off bad debts totalling 5.2 million Francs (€4.3m), half of it from a former board member who lent the club money.
But also regional authorities participated in the rescuing plan with a reduction of tax debts, knowing that getting part of the debts paid would serve them better than the club’s bankruptcy.
The efforts paved the way for the new investors, who now have the two-third majority they need in order to devalue the old shares and pump in new capital.
Dismantling of a Kloten legend
While most of the players, astonishingly, were kept during the crisis, it was decided to part ways with long-time coach Anders Eldebrink from Sweden as his contract was considered as too expensive. Players Niklas Nordgren, Roman Wick and Arnaud Jacquemet were also let loose.
The investors installed a new CEO in Wolfgang Schickli, who sacked his predecessor Jürg Schawalder and assistant coach Felix Hollenstein. Schickli wanted a fresh start, meaning that there was no room for nostalgia.
Player-legend and long-time assistant coach Hollenstein, who had been with the club for 28 years, was shown the door and the lesser known Czech coach of Kloten’s junior team, Tomas Tamfal, was promoted to lead the elite league team.
It will be an uncertain future on the ice for the team when the season kicks off on 12th September, but at least one with the certain backing of the new investors. Gaydoul’s entry in Kloten will also mean the end of his presidency of the Swiss Ice Hockey Federation.
For now he passes on being on Kloten’s board and the federation’s committee accepts the temporary continuation of his presidency while being Kloten’s owner for a transitional period until his succession will be arranged.
5. julij 2012 13:23
Re: HK Jesenice
tole ni neka znanost, če najdeš hudega investitorja...
5. julij 2012 15:15
Re: HK Jesenice
HD Mladi Jesenice vabijo na Hrušico (Jesenice)...jutri od 16ure naprej bo sprejem Kopitarja in Stanleya...Po sprejemu koncert z Big Foot Mama in ostalimi bendi...izkupiček gre za HD Mladi Jesenice