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Elche financial crisis: demotion to Segunda B may be averted

This is really sad--Villarreal and Elche had begun to develop a really nice rivalry over the last few years. But behind the scenes, all was not well with the illicitanos' finances.

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Elche, already relegated to the Segunda Division for failure to agree on a repayment schedule with the taxman (and follow it), now faces a further demotion unless players are fully paid by the end of July--€7m is needed.

The sale of Jonathas to Real Sociedad brought in €7.2m, but if you thought that was going to pay Elche's debt, you would be SO WRONG!  Turns out 50% (50%!!) of it is going to the "player's representatives", €1.5m is what Elche has to play Pescara or whoever to buy Jonathas in the first place, around €500,000 goes to them for his loan, and a bit more than €1m goes to Jonathas himself, part of this being back wages.  So, the €7.2m is actually....€600,000 going into Elche's bank account.

Local businessman Juan Anguix, who took over as Elche president in March and promised all would be paid and everything would be fine, has been unable to fulfill his promises to take care of the club's debts, and so the "Crisis d'Elx" has continued.

Now (you can almost count on this happening), a possible "savior" has appeared, supposedly planning to invest €6m in Elche.  However, it turns out that this fellow, Dean Johnson, has invested in soccer clubs in the USA (Minnesota Thunder), and Belgium (FC Liege), and surprise, surprise, he's walked away leaving the clubs in worse shape than they were before, coaches and suppliers owed money, and no "investment" was ever made.   Anguix was quoted yesterday as saying Mr. Johnson has told him "everything published about his dark past or disreputable history is a lie".

Guess no one believed that, because now Anguix has resigned as president.  However, it appears there may be hope, as Juan Perán, chairman of Pikolinos, has done a whip-round of about a dozen Elche business colleagues and says they have enough money to pay the players and keep the club in Segunda A.  Hopefully that is so.

Regardless, it's sad to see Elche's fine play on the pitch last season undone by boardroom incompetence.  Hopefully they will get things righted, make it back to the Primera and we can resume our rivalry.