A few weeks ago CARD put out a press release following a meeting at the Belgian Embassy suggesting that the Belgian government, regional authorities and police would hold Charlton Athletic owner Roland Duchatelet accountable for poor management of the club.
This press release was not submitted beforehand to the Belgian Embassy and, according to Roland Duchatelet, did not tell the whole story.
Following the press release Lieven de Turck, who is managing the sale of the club, met with ambassador Rudolf Huygelen to find out what had happened.
It appears that CARD threatened to hold a demonstration in front of the embassy against the club’s ownership. Facing the threat of a demonstration Mr Huygelen asked one of his assistants to meet with CARD, in exchange they agreed to give up on the idea of protesting in front of the embassy.
The embassy didn’t inform Roland Duchatelet as they thought the incident was closed as they had allowed the CARD representatives the opportunity to be heard.
The embassy made it clear to CARD, from the beginning, that they would not interfere in any way in what they consider a private matter.
For reference, this was what CARD sent to the press:
CARD: Duchatelet under Embassy spotlight
A senior official at the Belgium Embassy will raise concerns about the activities of Charlton owner Roland Duchâtelet with the Belgian government and public officials.
Counsellor Alain Leroy, who reports directly to the Belgian Consul General in the UK, hosted a delegation from the Coalition Against Roland Duchâtelet (CARD) on Wednesday, April 17th at the embassy in Belgravia.
He listened closely as the CARD representatives outlined how the actions of his countryman were harming the club, its supporters and its wider community, as well as attracting widespread ridicule in the media and across the football industry.
A CARD spokesperson said: “We were impressed that Mr Leroy was so well informed, which shows how much attention Duchâtelet’s actions have generated beyond the football world.
“He had a good knowledge of the situation at Charlton, particularly with regards to the issue of the unpaid staff bonuses and Duchâtelet’s recent bewildering rant demanding that the EFL buy the club from him.”
With Lee Bowyer’s team having already reached the League One play-offs this season, CARD emphasised that the continuing opposition to Duchâtelet was not related to results, or Duchâtelet’s nationality.
Among the issues highlighted were the possibility of further protests against Duchâtelet in Belgium if he fails to deliver on his commitment to sell the club, announced 15 months ago, and that these protests were unlikely to be restricted to St Truiden.
The representatives also assured Mr Leroy that the coalition had had nothing to do with the graffitiing of premises linked to Duchâtelet earlier this year, and no knowledge of who was responsible, but explained how it would not be a surprise if other groups took an increasingly militant approach should Duchâtelet remain at Charlton.
Although the Belgium Embassy is unable to interfere in private matters, Leroy noted the concerns expressed to him and pledged to report back to the relevant authorities in Belgium, which include government officials, the regional authorities and the police.
A CARD spokesperson added: “No one is in any doubt that Duchâtelet needs to go, including Duchâtelet himself, but it’s almost a year-and-a-half since he said he was selling up and he is still there despite numerous interested parties. It’s high time he set a realistic price and sold the club, which would be a relief to everyone concerned.”