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Monaco fans want refunds after Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez depart

Sep 3, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT

France Soccer League One AP

Following Radamel Falcao’s departure from Monaco to Manchester United on Monday, fans of the Ligue 1 side are banding together to demand the refund of season tickets.

A blogpost “Planete ASM speaks on the matter of refunds” was published Tuesday evening that said the following:

This Tuesday morning, after a short night spent up late waiting desperately for official word, the team of published an article that encouraged disgruntled supporters to seek reimbursement from increased subscriptions.

“With these two departures and with almost no new signings during the whole transfer window, Monaco fans are swinging between anger, confusion and frustration. The fans feel betrayed today – for having believed the club’s promises and having accepted a significant increase in season ticket prices at Stade Louis II.

“There’s nothing to indicate the club will accept these demands, but at least they will show our general unhappiness.”

The fans are believed to be upset not only by the loan of Falcao but also the sale of James Rodriguez to Real Madrid and the club’s collective failure to replace the Colombian stars with players in similar positions, let alone strength. Not a good thing for Monaco or French Football. So how’d it all go wrong?

In 2011 Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev purchased AS Monaco, as it was toiling in Ligue 2, and announced an ambitious project to raise the club up to Europe’s elite.

Over the next three years Rybolovlev poured more than $285 million into acquiring players and just last summer purchased Colombian superstars Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez, as well as Portuguese playmaker Joao Moutinho. Monaco finally had the firepower to compete with the likes Paris Saint Germain and faired quite well, finishing runner-up in Ligue 1.

Signing Falcao and Rodriguez had just as much to do with acquiring talent as it did filling the stadium, as the Stade Louis II only holds 18,521 fans. And yet, despite those big names in the side, under 9,000 fans showed up for the home matches. It wasn’t that the fans didn’t like the team, there simply weren’t enough of them to go round as the population of Monaco is only 36,000 and only 20% of them are Monegasques, people originally from Monaco. The rest are French and Italian. Further complicating matters was how the French Football Association responded to the principality’s lack of an income tax – which acted as a pretty strong pull for top players – by slapping the club with a $65 million fine to stay in Ligue 1.

Which brings us to this summer where Rybolovlev permanently off-loaded Rodriguez to Madrid for $92 million and loaned Falcao to United for $9 million and an option to buy without purchasing replacements. These moves have raised eyebrows not only among Monaco supporters but even competitors in Ligue 1.

“I hope that Monaco’s ambitious project is not going to disappear,” Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser al-Khelaifi  said. “I spoke to their president and vice-president and I hope they are going to stay and invest, it’s important for French football.

“I have some doubts at the moment, to be honest, but I think they have a big vision and a big strategy. I am little worried about the level of French football. We want to improve the level and for that it is very important to have competition.”

  1. willking9 - Sep 3, 2014 at 8:08 PM

    This is exactly why domestic French football sucks and why top level players in their primes will continue to be unhappy there. UCL success is fleeting so the basis of any great team needs to be made during the league season against well balanced competition.

  2. nextmanup81 - Sep 3, 2014 at 9:00 PM

    This guy bought a team and spends boat loads of money on players when they play in a tiny stadium, they have no fans and then has to abandon ship on his plan after only a few years because he has no means other than selling players that allows him to recoup his investment? How did he not see this was a bad idea?

  3. sailbum7 - Sep 3, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    I can understand why the fans want refunds. You pay for season tickets to go watch your team play and hopefully win – or at least be competitive. When the team sells off their top players making them look very uncompetitive the fans have a right to be upset. They did not pay for season tickets to go watch a second rate team get wiped off the field by the competition.

    • chunkala - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:09 PM

      What fans?

  4. mianfr - Sep 3, 2014 at 10:08 PM

    Could their Russian owner just be trying to get some non-ruble cash before additional sanctions are levied? That seems to me to be the only possible explanation.

    I can’t see a team in such a sell off under a still-rich owner for any reason than the owner not being as rich (as in, has access to cash) as we thought he was.

    Might he just be selling off and hoping his team can stay in Ligue 1 before re-upping in the next year or two?

    • chunkala - Sep 4, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      Plus, probably only in Monaco to setup a base for a Russian invasion. Russia doing its best to return to Stone Age.

  5. shotgunzoom - Sep 4, 2014 at 1:13 AM

    Tragic. They fired the “Tinkerman”, who IMO could probably get the most out of the team as it is now. The only thing attractive about playing there is the tax situation. The fans are right to be confused, angry disappointed.

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