Billionaire-heir Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has completed his takeover of Sunderland.

The Frenchman, who is the son of former Marseille owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus, becomes the youngest chairman in English football at the age of 23.

Louis-Dreyfus (right) is just 23 years old

Getty Images – Getty

Louis-Dreyfus (right) is just 23 years old

He has purchased the League One club from Stewart Donald, who will keep a minority shareholding along with Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven.

New Sunderland chairman Louis-Dreyfus, whose family founded the successful Louis-Dreyfus Company in 1851, said: “I would like to thank Stewart, the Board of Directors and the EFL for their diligence and support throughout the recent process.

“I am proud to become a custodian of this esteemed institution, but I also recognise the significant responsibility that comes with it.

“Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in Sunderland AFC’s history and although the current landscape facing football dictates that there are challenges to overcome, I am confident that together we can weather the present storm and put solid foundations in place to bring sustainable and long-term success to the club.”

Donald, who bought Sunderland from Ellis Short in 2018, has announced the club are now debt-free.

He said: “I am delighted to welcome Kyril Louis-Dreyfus to the club as our new chairman and controlling shareholder.

“Kyril’s commitment, acumen and integrity convinced us to accept his proposal.

Sunderland are looking to gain promotion to the Championship at the third time of asking

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Sunderland are looking to gain promotion to the Championship at the third time of asking

“His vision and desire to bring success back to Sunderland was obvious from the outset and his bid is the one that we feel gives the club the best chance of long-term success and sustainability.

“When we entered into negotiations with Ellis Short three years ago, Sunderland was nearly £200 million in debt, was losing £35 million per annum, and had all but been relegated to League One.

“Our plan was to work hard to turn around the finances of the club, put it on a stable footing and to get promoted back into the Championship.

“I am proud to say that we have achieved what we set out to in terms of SAFC’s finances – the club is debt-free, was breaking even prior to the pandemic and has retained its Category One Academy status.”

Donald also admitted his ‘bitter disappointment’ at not being able to get Sunderland out of League One.

The Black Cats are currently seventh in the third tier and just one point from a play-off place.

Donald will retain minority shareholding in Sunderland

Getty – Contributor

Donald will retain minority shareholding in Sunderland

Donald added: “It is no secret that – despite spending the highest transfer fees and playing wages in League One history – progress on the pitch has not followed suit.

“That has been a bitter disappointment for us as owners, and we can only apologise for falling short in this regard.

“Whilst we certainly made mistakes, everything was done with the best of intentions with the view to deliver this aim, but we just fell short and in football, unfortunately, a miss is as good as a mile.

“However, with the club just having booked its third Wembley final in three seasons and still being in the hunt for promotion, the foundations are set for better times.

“We hope and believe that the new management team, with Kyril at its head, can finally complete the turnaround and get the club climbing the divisions once again.”


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