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06/06/2019

GRASSHOPPER CLUB ZURICH IN FRESH ALIGNMENT

Grasshopper Club Zurich in fresh alignment +++ Shareholders opt for sensible and financial recovery of the renowned club.

Zurich, 6 June 2019: After a careful analysis of the financial and sport options of Grasshopper Club Zurich, the two main shareholders (Dr Peter Stüber and Stephan Anliker) have decided to continue financing the club in the 2019/20 season. Strategic scenarios were up for discussion, which ranged from the quickest possible promotion back to the Super League through to the long-term recovery of the financial situation. The shareholders consider the objective of returning to the Super League as quickly as possible to be financially unfeasible and rate the associated risks as too high. They prefer a variant that is more moderate in terms of the sport objectives but also financially acceptable. Both main shareholders want Grasshopper Club Zurich to become popular again with a fresh and more moderate stance.

Shareholders continue to support GC

The shareholders emphasised that they will continue to support the club financially in the 2019/20 season. The club needs to be placed on a solid footing again and operate with feasible sporting objectives. The objective of a financial recovery of the club can only be guaranteed if both the cost side and the sporting ambitions are handled within the framework of the funds available. They are convinced that the financial support guaranteed by them will enable good results in the Challenge League. The objective now is to rebuild Grasshopper Club Zurich in the Challenge League over the medium to long term with attractive football. "We believe that the guarantees provided by us are by no means insufficient to achieve good results in the Challenge League," said the two main shareholders in joint statement.

GC Challenge League budget is in line with that of direct competitors

The budget for the 2019/20 Challenge League season adopted by the shareholders yesterday is CHF 13.6 million. This budget, which is considerably lower than in the past season, is to be consolidated in the Challenge League and reduced further, if possible. The new Challenge League club therefore has a budget for the 2019/20 season that is comparable to that of the direct competitors in Switzerland's second highest league. Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr András Gurovits, was very happy with the decision now taken: "The budget is absolutely fine for the Challenge League. We will do everything to set up a team with hard work, modesty and sportsmanship that will play honest and attractive football. At the same time, it will allow proving to our fans and the public that it is possible to make a strong appearance and present good sport even with modest funds."

Specific promises of other funding, as occasionally reported in the media, were not given.

GC's own resources to be the cornerstone for the future

The future organisation and first team of Grasshopper Club Zurich should be primarily staffed with own personnel and players within the framework of the adopted concept. This is confirmation by both the shareholders and Board of Directors that grassroots work will continue be of great significance. The Youth Centre of Excellence (NLZ) will therefore continue to be a key component of Grasshopper Club Zurich's strategy.

Management as a team and flat hierarchies

According to Deputy Chairman Dr András Gurovits, the club management will be handed over to various people with immediate effect. Flat hierarchies with a focus on working as a team are the focus in the operating management, which has already started work. The responsibilities in the operating club management have been defined as follows:

  • The sports management has been transferred with immediate effect to a team consisting of Uli Forte (head coach), Paul Bollendorff (head scout) and Timo Jankowski (training head). Team Sport is supplemented by Deputy Chairman Gurovits from strategic management (Board of Directors). The first contact person for sports matters is Paul Bollendorff. The team has lots of experience both on an individual level and as a whole and is very familiar with the structures of Grasshopper Club Zurich.
  • The contractual and administrative aspects of the players' contracts will be handled by GC's in-house lawyer Dr Vitus Derungs as in the past. Derungs has been a member of the club management of GC for many years. He has also worked as a lawyer for FIFA and maintains contacts with the league and sports associations.
  • The previous CEO, Manuel Huber, has assured the Board of Directors that he will proactively support and accompany Grasshopper Club Zurich's new management until his departure in mid-July 2019. He will also provide the new CEO, who is yet to be determined, with an induction.

The Zurich lawyer Dr András Gurovits will oversee the strategic management of Grasshopper Fussball AG (GFAG). Gurovits, who has sat on the Board of Directors of GFAG since 2015, will monitor the operating activities in close collaboration with the main shareholders. The search for figures to expand the Board of Directors is a high priority and will be started in the coming weeks. András Gurovits has been closely associated with GC since his childhood. Growing up as the child of Hungarian refugees in Zurich-Oerlikon and today citizen of Zurich, he successfully played football at B junior level. After his successful test training at the Hoppers, he was invited to become a GC player in the 1970s but down turned the offer in favour of sport on the water. András Gurovits is a genuine GC man. As an active rower of Grasshopper Club Zurich's rowing section, he is also occasionally to be seen on various Swiss lakes.

GC Central Board supports new strategy

Grasshopper Club Zurich is receiving broad support for the strategy set by the shareholders from its parent organisation, the Central Board of the biggest polysport association in Switzerland, Grasshopper Club Zurich. Central Chairman Dr Andres Iten was delighted about the core shareholders' fresh commitment: "As in all our activities, modesty is an important virtue. The new alignment is highly welcomed and supported by the Central Board."