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At his trial, Saïd Chabane, the former president of Angers, defends himself from any illegality

The former president of the Angers SCO Saïd Chabane defended Thursday before the Bobigny criminal court his club's use of recruiters to enrich its teams, while disputing having illegally exercised the profession of agent.

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At his trial, Saïd Chabane, the former president of Angers, defends himself from any illegality

The former president of the Angers SCO Saïd Chabane defended Thursday before the Bobigny criminal court his club's use of recruiters to enrich its teams, while disputing having illegally exercised the profession of agent. At the start of his two-hour interrogation, the former president of the SCO of Angers, visibly relaxed, returned to the context in which the club found itself in 2020.

With the promise of prosperous seasons for French football thanks to the billion euros for TV rights, the club decides to “prepare for the future” by investing in a reserve team with the best elements of the U17s and U19s. To enrich this section, they need new recruits with two conditions: that they are free of contract and with career potential. The bankruptcy of the audiovisual group Mediapro dampens their ambitions and “we find ourselves with budgets built on revenues that we do not have”, relates Mr. Chabane.

The then president of the SCO regained control of the sporting dimension of the club. “Instead of validating that the final phase, I had a step-by-step look,” he explains in court. According to the current owner of the club, it is with this in mind to build the reserve team that he calls on recruiters or “scouts”, responsible for identifying future football stars. He is accused by the accusation - facts which he disputes - of having exercised the profession of sports agent without having a license and of having laundered money.

He was notably questioned by the court about his relationship with Jalal B., a former judoka who has been in the world of football for years. The latter offers his address book to the SCO of Angers.

“It was good timing with the creation of the reserve,” notes Saïd Chabane. Jalal B.'s remuneration for his missions at the SCO was estimated at just over one million euros. For a time, he was employed by the club as a recruiter. “Free electron”, in his words, he resigned. “I'm not interested in being an agent, I like what I do,” assured the 40-year-old man, prosecuted for illegal exercise of the profession of agent, aggravated money laundering and misuse of company assets.

“Today, my field is scouting, recruitment, detecting,” he explains. His role, he repeats, is limited to “passing on the information” he has and helping with the physical and mental preparation of the players. “We get the youngster back, we make him work to create real added value and move the club forward,” assures Jalal B. For Saïd Chabane, the collaboration with Jalal B. was very beneficial for the club. Of the five to six players brought in, “I have 20 million euros of net capital gain left,” he estimates.

In this case, five people and three companies are being prosecuted. In addition to Saïd Chabane and Jalal B., two other men who also operate in the world of football were dismissed for illegally exercising the profession of agent. The last defendant, Lasana K., a sports agent licensed with the French Football Federation, is being prosecuted for complicity.

The whole issue of the file is to determine the contours of the missions of each and whether these fall under those of the sports agent, regulated by law, or those more vague of the recruiters, whether they are employees or freelance around the football fields.

“Does the agent take over the work done by another and put his signature (on the contract) because he has the license?” asks the president to Saïd Chabane. It corresponds to “part of reality”, replies the ex-president of the SCO of Angers. According to the law, the profession of sports agent consists of establishing relationships between football clubs, athletes and other agents. They receive up to 10% of contracts signed by players. “As for the agent, the rule is defined,” notes Saïd Chabane. “For scouting, nothing is defined.” Requisitions are expected Friday morning.

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