Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Hurrah for continuity - Leproux and Kombouare stay put

Football club owners aren't a breed known for their close relationship with the truth.

After all, how many struggling managers have received the good old "vote of confidence" from ther boss just days before being confidently booted out onto the street.

But leaving that aside, today's announcement by Nasser Al-Khelaifi that PSG president Robin Leproux and coach Antoine Kombouare will keep their jobs under the new Qatari regime has to be a welcome one.

Speaking after a meeting with the Direction Nationale de Contrôle et de Gestion, at which he answered questions about the club’s new ownership, Al-Khelaifi, who is expected to become the new president of the club’s advisory board, told L’Equipe: "He [Leproux] will remain president, and the coach (Kombouare) will also be the same."

Quite where this leaves the club’s “probable future sporting director” Leonardo, whose appointment seemed as inevitable as Andy Murray losing in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, remains unclear, but perhaps more will be revealed when the Qataris officially take over, which could be as soon as Monday.

Obviously it’s early days, and one wonders whether the new owners are keeping the likes of Rafa Benitez and Carlo Ancelotti on speed-dial in case PSG start the season poorly. But perhaps the lack of immediate sweeping changes in the dug-out is indicative of the Qataris wanting to take a sensible approach to their new project.

In his excellent blog post written last week, Robert Smithson raises some valid concerns about the impact the big-money take-over could have, particularly on the club’s young players. But it should also be pointed out that some clubs have managed to strike a decent balance between spending and developing since being brought out. Aston Villa, for example, appear to have a flourishing youth policy despite the heavy investment of American owner Randy Lerner.

It can be done, but whether the Qataris have the patience, or inclination, to look at the long game remains to be seen.


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