AS Monaco FF starts its American dream

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The Monegasque club, which is not associated with the men’s team evolving in Ligue 1, announced a change of dimension with the addition of the PEAK6 group to its shareholding. This step forward should give AS Monaco FF more resources to reach the professional level.

Is it the start of a new chapter that will allow AS Monaco FF scope to reach the highest level of French women’s football? The Monegasque club has never hidden its will to play in the national championship, first in D2 and then in D1. Playing at the moment in Regional 1 – the French third tier – ASM FF recently announced the upcoming registration of a new organisation, an LLC, of which PEAK6 will become the majority shareholder.

Just a few days after the announcement was made, the development manager of AS Monaco FF, Thomas Martini, explained to Her Football Hub how this had been made possible.

“We have been talking with PEAK6 for several months, after they contacted the Palace and the institutions of the country. With this agreement, this group is taking in its wake several other partners, whether in terms of the kit supplier, with Capelli Sport, or the emancipation of women in the world of finance, with Poker Power.

“Rush Soccer, a large academy which includes some 150,000 girls and boys across the United States, will also back our project and will offer us profiles of players who will join our team.

“All this will allow the development of several axes within the club.”

“We thought it was too big to believe

In fact, with the creation of the LLC, an agreement drawn up by a firm specialised in sports law was signed by the various parties. President of ASM FF, André-Pierre Couffet added: “There are some aspects of the future that are already being thought through, yet having something very complete for the present that everyone agrees with.

“The first contact was made on September 14, 2020. At that time, they explained to us their willingness to invest in women’s football. When the meeting ended, we thought with Thomas that it was too big to believe.”

But with the calls and discussion going ahead, André-Pierre Couffet accepted that even if it was quite huge, it was possible.

“We realised that this project was real and plausible. Little by little, things fell into place“, he continued.

The Monegasque board still had to explain a few details about the specificities existing in Regional 1. For example, at this level, clubs can only recruit up to six players per season. If the American first hoped to buy a whole group of professional players, it was quickly made clear that they had to be more patient.

When asked about their opinion on why PEAK6 decided to approach them, the two men had an easy answer: “Jérôme de Bontin, the Chicago-based representant of the group.”

Even if the Principality enjoys a great reputation worldwide, the French man was definitely one of the main reasons why the American group chose ASM FF.

“If Jérôme de Bontin, who is a former president of AS Monaco FC, the men’s side playing in Ligue 1, hadn’t had this bond with Monaco, it wouldn’t have been possible,” affirms André-Pierre Couffet. The 63-year-old businessman graduated with a Bachelor of Art in Economics from Amherst College in Massachusetts, where he attended at the same time as Albert II, the Prince of Monaco. That is also why PEAK6 decided to first contact the Palace and the institution of the country before negotiating with AS Monaco FF.

Going forward for the sake of women’s football

With the power of the US group, the Monegasque club will have additional resources to progress.

“We will be able to better structure the teams in order to provide better support to the players,” says the president. This will allow ASM FF to hope to reach D2 shortly, but with the effects Covid-19, the ambition had to be slowed down.

“The D2 play-offs have been an objective for our last two seasons. Last year we were almost there because we were second, when lockdown put a stop to our hopes. Competitions have not resumed after that. Then we had only played four games in 2020/2021”, comments Thomas Martini.

This year, the season was null and voided and the squads will have to focus on the next one to achieve their objectives. But AS Monaco FF isn’t all about their first team and André-Pierre Couffet makes a point of developing the entire club, not just one part of it.

“We want our reserve to play in Regional 1, our U19s to be in the national championship and our football school to be labeled ‘gold’ by the FFF. There is a lot of work, we are aware of it, but the development will be done at all levels.”

With this big step forward, the Monaco-based club shows one more time why it is one of the driving forces of the Mediterranean region. ASM FF has accepted this role and will continue on this path. For a long time, the organisation has suffered from the reputation of being a ‘rich club’ according to other teams.

“People have always associated AS Monaco FF with the men’s Ligue 1 club. This image is not going to change, but this time around we will probably have more resources than before,” thinks Thomas Martini.

Football is a collective sport and André-Pierre Couffet as well Thomas Martini want to make sure that other teams in the region are also working in the same direction in order to help women’s football to develop.

They conclude: “We keep our feet on the ground and we know we can’t go anywhere on our own. Other clubs need to be involved in women’s football at their level. We have to come together at the regional level to get there all together, we cannot let one club pull away and ignore the others.”

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