“Mr. Altrad should stop insulting us”, “the crisis at the MHR, he is the problem”… the Montpellier town hall and the billionaire boss are at loggerheads

"Mr. Altrad should stop insulting us", "the crisis at the MHR, he is the problem"... the Montpellier town hall and the billionaire boss are at loggerheads

The end of the season is tough for the owner of MHR, Mohed Altrad, target of the scathing response from Montpellier town hall. MAXPPP – Manuel Blondeau

The clash has arrived. The request for purchase of the GGL Stadium by Mohed Altrad continues to generate ink, against a backdrop of growing disagreement between the boss of the MHR and the mayor Michaël Delafosse.

"We say it clearly: let Mr. Altrad stop insulting us. Inconsistency and disrespect must stop. The syndrome of omnipotence has won over him." Tack for tackle. Between Mohed Altrad and Michaël Delafosse, the rag burns after the president of the MHR accused the mayor of Montpellier, Tuesday at a press conference, of "lying" about the GGL Stadium, the object of his desire.

In the little game of “it's not me, it's him”, Delafosse was the first to say he didn't have "no opposition in principle to the stadium buyout project" but (what) "was only waiting for a response from President Altrad". To which the latter replied: "He is lying. He is not waiting for my answer, I have no answer to give him. We agreed to all the conditions, he's lying."

Account settlements

This Thursday, the response from elected officials did not take long, through the voice of Montpellier's sports assistant, Christian Assaf. Scathing and without appeal, during a long diatribe.

I have the feeling that he has a little problem with public authority.

"When you negotiate with a partner, you do not spend your time, and this has been the case since 2020, insulting us via the press. That being said, this is nothing new. Mr. Altrad was already having fun doing the same thing with Georges Frêche, Jean-Pierre Moure, Philippe Saurel and today Michaël Delafosse (all ex-presidents of the Métropole de Montpellier ). I have the feeling that he has a little problem with public authority. We can have disagreements but we must work with respect.

For our part, we have never criticized him publicly, even though the club is in crisis, and he has made recruitments to his staff that we could have commented that he had problems with the law, but we never commented on his choices. I was wondering about the issues surrounding the crisis the club was going through this season, and I ended up understanding where the problem came from."

There is a form of inconstancy that takes time

Also read: Purchase of the GGL Stadium: "We accepted all the conditions, he (the mayor) is lying", dialogue of the deaf between Altrad and Delafosse

Also read: Stade Louis-Nicollin, GGL Stadium, new handball room, the three thorns in the side of the mayor of Montpellier Michaël Delafosse

The bottom line of the matter is just as unclear. The City thus criticizes the president of the club for his delays in his proposals for four years. "Since our election, we have been working with the MHR to find a solution. But they changed their minds a lot, we had many requests: purchase with real estate project, long lease, long lease of the stadium plus the annexes and the square, in short, three or four projects. The number of contacts we have had within the club has also often changed. So, each time, we have to restart discussions. There is a form of inconsistency which takes time, regrets Christian Assaf. However, we are very concerned that public authorities are not harmed in this matter. The inhabitants of the Metropolis contributed to the financing of this stadium, we must comply with a certain number of legal and administrative rules."

Clearly, the crux of the problem does not come from the purchase of the stadium alone but from its operation in the surrounding area, over a total area of ​​more than eight hectares (82,000 m2), in the Ovalie district. , which will be served by the fifth tram line at the end of 2025.

Altrad is desperate not to find any economic model

For his part, Mohed Altrad, owner of MHR since 2011, has always been in despair at not finding any economic model for a sport that is structurally loss-making for the majority of clubs. In his eyes, only the marketing of the GGL Stadium would truly give meaning to his commitment as a business leader. The opportunity also to try to seduce and retain a versatile audience, more spectators than supporters (10,800 people on average, 12th attendance in the Top14 in 2023-2024).

Let Mr. Altrad explain to us very clearly what he wants for the club

But the years pass, and the disagreements grow, until the clash. Are the wishes and interests of each person today (re) reconcilable ? Christian Assaf does not close the door : "Everything This creates instability while our desire is to give the club the means to develop. I invite Mr. Altrad to return to better feelings and to respect us, by sitting around the table and explaining to us very clearly what he wants for the club."

One more crisis to manage for the boss of the Cistes, who has collected them in succession this season, like a billionaire trying to resist a stock market crash. The MHR has never been so close to breaking point. The time for introspection has come.

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