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€3 million investment from Hong Kong saves Biarritz from relegation

A regular European challenger in the noughties, BO are relieved to cling on to a place in Pro D2.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

BIARRITZ OLYMPIQUE, EUROPEAN CUP runners-up as recently as 2010, today announced that they have won their appeal against relegation to Federale 1, France’s third tier of rugby, for financial reasons.

Biarritz have won the French championships five times in all and three times this century, but a collapse in form brought relegation from the Top 14 to Pro D2 in 2014.

This season, the club reached the promotional playoffs, losing to Grenoble, amid off-field crisis as four presidents occupied the boardroom of Parc des Sports Aguiléra.

That chaos prompted the French league to relegate the club on May 18. The league’s financial watchdog also found that the club was running a €1 million operating deficit.

Pre Match Hospitality and Branding Serge Blanco File photo of Serge Blanco. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

The latest president, Jean-Baptiste Aldige, appeared before the French rugby federation appeal board yesterday accompanied by Serge Blanco, the iconic former president of both the club and the French league.

Aldige, who played rugby in Hong Kong, is supported by Hong Kong-based French businessman Louis-Vincent Gave, who has injected €3 million to cover €2.4 million worth of debts. The Biarritz delegation convinced the hearing to reverse their drop to the third tier of rugby and end all disciplinary proceedings.

The decision is bad news for another historic club from south-west France. US Dax, who finished 15th in Pro D2, are relegated instead.

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