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Sunderland are to be taken over by a 22-year-old

Sunderland have announced that they are to be taken over by a 22-year-old later in the new year, subject to approval by the EFL.

An agreement has been reached for Kyril Louis-Dreyfus to buy Stewart Donald’s controlling interest in Sunderland, paving the way for a takeover.

Donald, who stepped down as chairman in July, and did a lot of blaming towards the club’s fanbase, holds a 74% stake in the League One club.

His family founded the Switerzland-based Louis-Dreyfus group in the 19th century and owned Marseille for 10 years before selling it in 2016.

Louis-Dreyfus, along with his twin brother, is one of three heirs to his father’s fortune after his death in 2009 and is estimated to have a trust fund worth more than £2bn. His mother remains a minority shareholder in Marseille.


Sunderland AFC can announce that an agreement has been reached for Kyril Louis-Dreyfus to acquire Stewart Donald’s controlling interest in the club. If approved by the EFL, the deal will see Louis-Dreyfus become chairman at the Wearside club early in the New Year.

Donald said: “It’s been no secret that I have been looking for some time to find the right person to take Sunderland forward and during the course of the last year there have been a lot of different people wanting to take over. “However, even though it is a matter of public record that some of those bidders offered me more money, I felt that they offered less to the club and to the community. Whereas from the early meetings with Kyril, his family and advisers, I have been greatly impressed with their knowledge and understanding, learned over a long period as owners of major football clubs in Belgium and France. “I believe that experience, combined with a good plan, will provide a platform for the club to progress and I look forward to watching that progress from afar.”

Louis-Dreyfus said: “First, I would like to thank Stewart Donald for his integrity and reasonableness over the last three months, which has led to me having the opportunity to take a controlling stake in Sunderland AFC. “I am fully aware of the efforts undertaken by the current ownership and Board to protect the viability of the Club and respect the difficulty of this task, given Sunderland’s recent past and the current economic climate.

“We respectfully await the EFL’s approval for this transaction. Nonetheless it would be remiss of me at this stage not to emphasise what an enormous honour it would be for me to become involved with such a historic club, in a city renowned for its rich football culture going back to 1879. “Many will be aware of my family connections to the industry and, in acquiring Sunderland AFC, I understand the responsibility that’s placed upon me as the custodian of the club’s future.

“Moving forward, we have a long-term strategy which integrates Sunderland’s proud traditions with a modern structure and approach. We will seek to be at the frontier of research and innovation in all performance domains and place great emphasis on player development and the team’s style of play. “We want to create a team that is entertaining to watch and that embodies the spirit and the culture of those who attend, thereby reconnecting the team with its fanbase, whose support will be so vital to our success.“In the midst of a global pandemic, we should all be aware of the difficult situation the club is currently in and the challenges we face in the months to come. “However, through hard work, a diligent plan and togetherness from the Board of Directors, staff, players and supporters we can between us create a brighter future at the Stadium of Light. If we all play our parts, I firmly believe we can restore Sunderland AFC to the top tier of English football and I can’t wait to get started.”

Documentation relating to the deal has been lodged today with the EFL for their scrutiny, and the Club recognises that the EFL need to approve all aspects of the transaction and business plan going forward before any change of control. Given the time of year, that process is not expected to conclude until mid-January, until which point there will be no further public comment from Sunderland AFC or Kyril Louis-Dreyfus.

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