April 17 – Club Brugge’s CEO Vincent Mannaert (pictured) has admitted that his alcohol addiction could force his exit from the Belgian club.
“I have a problem with alcohol, which is not recent. I am in therapy for that,” admitted Mannaert in an interview with local media.
Mannaert has been convicted five times for drunk driving and his drinking has led to strained relations at Club Brugge, notably with chairman Bart Verhaeghe.
“I still work very well with Bart, but it is also true that he is not satisfied when such an incident occurs. He has shown that several times.
“I have been told that alcohol and the representation of Club Brugge no longer go together. I’ve been in therapy for a year or two now. At a certain point, I decided to take the step myself, also because I received a signal from my wife and children.”
Mannaert has been reprimanded by the board and told that future drunkenness in the work place will lead to his departure. The club CEO was involved in incidents after Brugge’s 4-0 defeat in the Champions League against Atletico Madrid as well as after an away game in Ostende in the domestic league.
Mannaert was also a suspect in Operation ‘Propere Handen’, the widespread investigation into fraud in the Belgian game, but has made a deal with the federal prosecutor.
This season, Brugge, Belgium’s defending champions, have been underwhelming on the pitch, leading to tension in the boardroom. At €15 million, record-signing Roman Yaremchuk has failed to deliver. With qualification for the Champions League now impossible, the club face a loss in revenue of €30 million for the first time in years. They could miss out on European competition next season altogether.
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