NK Osijek to go into foreign ownership.
Osijek City Council has accepted an offer made by Hungarian businessman Lorinc Meszaros to purchase 46.6 percent of the shares of Osijek Football Club, which means that Mayor Ivica Vrkić can now sign the contract with Meszaros. City authorities will get 100,000 kuna for its shares, but they will no longer have to pay to the club at least one million euros of public money a year. This decision means that Osijek Football Club will soon enter a new era, as it will be formally and legally in hands of a private owner for the first time in its history, reports Jutarnji List on January 19, 2016.
The old people’s club will therefore become history. Although some city councillors have expressed certain sadness about it, everyone pointed out that this was the only way out, because the only other option was liquidation. The club is currently in debt 7 million kuna, while in the middle of next year it will have to start paying off additional debts amounting to 18.5 million kuna. These debts will now be covered by the new owners.
The most satisfied with the outcome was Osijek Mayor Ivica Vrkić, who is also the chairman of Club Assembly, but also an informal club president who in recent months has tried everything to save it. When they failed with the earlier attempts to sell the club to the Osijek Brewery, Vrkić decided to sell the shares “even if we get just one kuna for them”. Most of the other co-owners of the club joined him in this decision. The only offer received was the one made by Meszaros and his partner Ivan Meštrović, a businessman from Osijek who is doing business in Dubai and Hungary. The buyers will have to prove that they have secured money for five years of normal operations. The annual budget of the club is usually about 2 million euros.
“I would like to thank you all. This is a good arrangement for the benefit of the club, but also for other sport clubs in the city as well, since now we will have more money for them”, said Vrkić. Some members of the City Council objected to this decision, since they have doubts about the way Meszaros is doing business in Hungary and the fact that he is a close associate of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.