• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3

New investors eye Servette rescue

Malcolm Curtis · 2 Mar 2012, 10:52

Published: 02 Mar 2012 11:03 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Mar 2012 10:52 GMT+01:00

For the second time since 2005, the Geneva football club Servette is on the brink of collapse.

The club, headed by Iranian businessman Majid Pishyar since 2008, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday after racking up debts of five million francs.

Pishyar issued a statement expressing frustration over the lack of financial support from the Geneva government and “financial circles” for the struggling team.

Last year, the entrepreneur brought on board Robert Hensler, the former top civil servant for the canton of Geneva, as vice-president in a bid to secure such support.

But now only a quick infusion of cash from new owners can prevent the Swiss Super League football team from folding.

Le Matin newspaper reported on Friday that two groups were interested in taking over the club but no firm details have emerged so far.

Servette, a team with roots going back to 1890, previously went bankrupt under French owner Marc Roger, who was later convicted of forging financial documents after running up debts of around 10 million francs.

The team ended up in the third division but quickly won promotion to the second division. 

Under Pishyar’s ownership, Servette, knowned as the “Grenat”, secured a place in the top-tier Super League for the 2011-12 season.

But the team has been run on a shoe-string, with a budget for players’ salaries that is reputed to the lowest in the league.

If the team is not resurrected, it will leave a hole in the calendar of events at the 30,000-seat Geneve Stadium where the team plays its home games.

For Pishyar, the Servette failure is the latest setback for a self-confessed football fanatic.

In 2004, the businessman, through his 32 Group company, took over Admira Wacker, a top club in the Austrian football club.

But that team too ran into financial problems and within three years was relegated to the country’s third division.

In 2007, Admira Wacker were placed in liquidation with debts of 3.2 million francs.

Servette’s problems come on the heels of the bankruptcy of Neuchatel’s Super League team Xamax in January.

Xamax’s owner, Bulat Chagaev, a Chechen trader based in Geneva, was arrested for suspected fraud and financial mismanagement in connection with the affair.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Foreigners in Switzerland surpass 2 million mark
International flags outside the UN in Geneva. Photo: Martial Trezzini/AFP

For the first time, there are now more than two million foreigners living in Switzerland.

Geneva runs out of permits for non-EU workers
File photo: The Local

Canton complains to the federal government after it reduced the number of permits available to third state workers.

Scorchio! Late August heat breaks record in Geneva
Lake Geneva on Thursday. Photo: The Local

The mercury in Geneva hit 33.3 degrees, a record for the final week in August.

US and Russia meet in Geneva for Syria talks
John Kerry with UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Geneva on Thursday for a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Expert predicts major quake for Switzerland by 2040
A fireman stands in the Italian village of Amatrice, which was badly hit by this week's earthquake. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

The canton of Valais is particularly at risk.

Aggressive deer put down after attacking four in Geneva
File photo: Michal Kosacky

The buck attacked four people in the same area over the course of 48 hours.

Navigation error ends badly for Basel driver

A man accidentally drove his car down a flight of steps after his passenger directed him the wrong way.

Blatter 'confident' as he faces Swiss sports court
Sepp Blatter. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Former Fifa boss Sepp Blatter is back in court on Thursday as he seeks to overturn a six-year ban from football.

Federer teams up with Nadal for new tennis tournament
Federer and Nadal at the Laver Cup launch with Rod Laver, Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe. Photo: Alex Goodlett/Getty Images North America/AFP

The duo will play doubles together in a new competition pitting Europe against the rest of the world in a tennis team event.

Geneva advises teachers on religion in school
File photo: C Carlstead

The secular canton of Geneva has issued guidelines for teachers on how to deal with religious issues in the classroom.

Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: Starship
Technology
Swiss Post trials robot parcel deliveries in Bern
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: AFP
Politics
Survey: Swiss optimistic about Brexit effect
Photo: Neil Heritage/Endeavour Fund
Features
Amputee's Matterhorn trek 'makes it more possible' for others
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: EPFL
International
Switzerland tops global innovation table – again
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Photo: Vasily Cotovanu
National
Asylum centre plans shelved after Swiss village protests
Photo: The Local
Politics
Neuchâtel looks to boost rights for foreigners
Photo: AFP
Sport
In pictures: final day success takes Swiss to seven medals
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: AFP
National
Experts debate rail security following Swiss train attack
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
File photo: AFP
Sport
Two basejumpers die in Lauterbrunnen accidents
Photo: AFP
International
Amnesty fears for child migrants at Italian border
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Photo: AXA Winterthur
National
Report: Geneva is Swiss capital of car theft
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP
National
Top tips for watching the meteor shower in Switzerland
File photo: Andrew Turner
Technology
Swiss start-up to offer drone service to farmers
Photo: Beat Strasser
National
British quadruple amputee summits Matterhorn
Photo: Judit Klein
National
Switzerland sees rise in child victims of forced marriage
Photo: Michael Schlick/OS Muhr
National
Swiss hiker in Austria rescued after sending SOS to America
Photo: Chris Murphy
Features
14 mistakes foreigners make on moving to Switzerland
Photo: AFP
Lifestyle
Swiss resort unveils huge ‘natural’ fresco on mountain
Photo: C Sonderegger/Swiss Tourism
National
Five great Swiss traditions all expats should try
Photo: AFP
National
Confirmed cases of Zika virus soar in Switzerland
Photo: eGuide Travel
National
Prison for woman who faked Swiss airport bomb threat
Photo: AFP
Technology
Swiss solar plane completes epic round-the-world trip
4,610
jobs available