Will SBM continue to finance AS Monaco FC in exchange for a reduction of its state fees?
It's a question being raised in the Conseil National during its review of the provisional 2011 budget. For the past 4 years the Government has reduced fees paid by Monte Carlo SBM to the state from 17% to 10%. The 7.4m euros difference is passed on to the club as an official contribution to the sporting activities of the Principality.
The arrangement was put in place in 2008, when the fate of Monaco's football team was in the balance. Initially rejected by the Conseil National as part of the Government's 2008 provisional budget, it was later accepted to run up to 2011.
AS Monaco FC has had its fair share of financial difficulties in the past. Monaco Football Investissement (MFI), Michel Pastor's investment group was established with 45 m euros in order to avoid a takeover by the French DNCG. MFI holds 51% of the club, but rumours were circulating in 2008 that it might sell its shares to Monte Carlo SBM.
With the French soccer industry suffering from the effects of the global economic crisis, and a potential drop in broadcasting rights income in 2012, let's hope there's a back-up plan for the reds and whites.