On Tuesday September 10, it was revealed that Reading sister club KSV Roeselare had been declared bankrupt. Belgian outlet Het Laatste Nieuws (HLN) reported that the decision had been taken by the commercial court of West Flanders - in the absence of the football club - over an unpaid amount of €21,000 (£18,750).
This news is naturally concerning to us as Reading fans. As TTE originally revealed in March 2017 - two months before the end of the then-ongoing takeover of the Royals - KSV Roeselare is closely linked with Reading due to being owned by Dai Xiu Li, who co-owns Reading alongside her brother Dai Yongge. Her involvement with the Belgian second-tier side started in the summer of 2016.
According to HLN, Xiu Li “closed the money tap [last year] and only paid the arrears of wages in June”. On the face of it, that seems potentially worrying from our point of view, especially given problems with previous owners.
However, The Tilehurst End understands that Xiu Li has taken a significant step back from KSV Roeselare. She has recently sold most (not all) of her stake in the Belgian club to investors from Brazil, and a full change in ownership is likely to be completed before the end of the year. As for the bankruptcy, that relates to a debt owed to a local restaurant that would have been paid were it not for the change in ownership.
Although the Brazilian investors have not yet been named, HLN wrote the following in their article on KSV Roeselare’s bankruptcy:
“This summer rumours circulated that the club would be taken over by a Brazilian investor group, including Frenchman Mikaël Silvestre, former player at Manchester United, but that remained silent over the past few months.”
A well-placed source adds that the Brazilian investors first came to Roeselare in August - and notes that, after this point, KSV signed six Brazilian players. They are: Areias Renan (from Corinthians), Marco Tullo (Atletico MG), Alyson (Sao Bernardo), Rincon (Laval), Bassani da Cruz Rodrigo (Ituano) and Rodrigo Fumaca (Ituano).
Further, it’s worth noting the reported involvement of Mikael Silvestre. The former Manchester United defender went into the world of football agents after retirement, and now works with one Kia Joorabchian - his LinkedIn shows Silvestre to be a director at Joorabchian’s Sports Invest UK Ltd and, according to the Mirror, both were involved in Philippe Coutinho’s move from Liverpool to Barcelona. Besides Joorabchian’s frequently reported involvement with Reading, Silvestre himself has been to the Madejski Stadium on matchday.
Mikael Silvestre here tonight #readingfc pic.twitter.com/J3qyOyNpMd— Lewis Woollard (@LewisWoollard) February 13, 2019