On 18th February 2021, the English Football League announced it had approved a transfer of overall control of Sunderland AFC to Kyril Louis-Dreyfus. The appropriate changes have been registered with Companies House.
A club statement confirmed :
Louis-Dreyfus becomes the club’s new Chairman with immediate effect, with Stewart Donald, Juan Sartori and Charlie Methven each retaining a minority shareholding.
Stewart Donald 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. 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. However, 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.”
Louis-Dreyfus commented: “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.”