Leading fans group blasts Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet over divisive statement criticising fans

Joe Hall
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Charlton Athletic v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship
Charlton fans have staged protests at The Valley since January (Source: Getty)

Charlton owner Roland Duchatelet has been condemned by a leading fan representative's group after a club statement criticised supporters for protesting his ownership.

The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) described the club statement, which alleged that some fans have come to games deliberately to wreak havoc, as a "desperate attempt by Duchatelet to divide the club's fan base".

Charlton's statement alleged that some fans "seem to want the club to fail" following protests during the team's 2-0 victory over Middlesbrough on Sunday that included beach balls being hurled onto the pitch, a mock funeral procession and a walkout after 74 minutes. One fan ran onto the pitch while others blew whistles.

Read more: Why Roland Duchatelet's project at Charlton is failing

"Last Sunday, some individuals did not come to The Valley to watch the game and support the team, but came to create disorder on the pitch and interfere with the players and the game," the statement read.

Charlton fans are calling for absentee owner Duchatelet, who purchased the club for around £14m in January 2014 but has only attended a handful of games, to sell the club.

But such hopes were dismissed in the statement which has sparked fury amongst supporters.

"Charlton Athletic fans' protest group the Coalition Against Roland Duchatelet (Card) clearly has support amongst the club's fan base and this seems a desperate attempt by Duchatelet to divide the club's fan base," read a statement from the FSF.

"It won't work. This ill-thought-out statement is simply pouring petrol on the flames."

The statement also made reference to controversial remarks from chief executive Katrien Meire in which she compared football with going to the cinema or restaurants, claiming she had been misrepresented.

At a tech summit in November Meire commented: "I think the difference is also because fans don't see themselves as customers and…they go to the restaurants with their families every week and they go to the cinema but if they aren't satisfied with the product will they go and scream to the people in charge of it? No they don't, but they do it with a football club and that's very weird."

Charlton are currently in the Championship relegation zone and five points from safety.

Fans have been unhappy with a lack of progress in the league, the departure of popular players and longstanding members of staff and the appointment of four different head coaches with zero Championship experience.

Protests calling on Duchatelet to sell Charlton after most home matches this year and led a successful campaign to convince energy drink Coco5 not to consider a sponsorship deal with the club.

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