Chinese company takes control of French club Sochaux

AFP
Li Wing-Sang (C), CEO of Hong-Kong based company Ledus, and financial director Chi Hung Chiu (R) show the new jerseys of Sochaux's football club on July 6, 2015 during a press conference at the Auguste Bonal stadium in Montbeliard (AFP Photo/Patrick Hertzog)
Li Wing-Sang (C), CEO of Hong-Kong based company Ledus, and financial director Chi Hung Chiu (R) show the new jerseys of Sochaux's football club on July 6, 2015 during a press conference at the Auguste Bonal stadium in Montbeliard (AFP Photo/Patrick Hertzog)

Sochaux (France) (AFP) - Chinese hi-tech company Ledus on Monday officially took over FC Sochaux from carmakers Peugeot, making the French second division club the first in Europe under total Chinese control.

"It's the conclusion of a journey started almost a year ago," club president Denis Worbe said.

The deal, reportedly worth seven million euros ($7.9 million), was set in motion in February by Hong Kong-listed electrical components manufacturer Ledus, a subsidiary of Tech Pro.

Ledus head Li Wing Sang, speaking at a press conference alongside Worbe, added: "We don't want to change anything in the club, we want to keep its culture and continue its history.

"We are here for the long term. We are not traders! We don't want to move anyone from the heart of the club.

"And we hope to go back up to Ligue 1 in the shortest time possible," he said, with a budget for next season higher than the last."

The goal, the Chinese businessman added, was "to make Sochaux an international brand to reach out to numerous markets".

Sochaux were set up by Peugeot in 1928 for their workers and the club's Auguste-Bonal stadium stands beside a Peugeot factory that still employs 10,000 workers.

Peugeot have in recent times focused on auto racing and tennis, while Sochaux, the first professional football team in France and who spent a record 66 seasons in the French top-flight, were relegated last year into Ligue 2.

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