Paris St Germain have been making the front pages recently and it’s not due to their performance on their pitch. Sure, they are dominating Ligue 1 as expected but who wouldn’t, having received an injection of 1.8 billion dollars from an autocratic state. PSG are instead making headlines for all the wrong reasons off the pitch. Brilliant journalism from Football Leaks, Spiegel and Mediapart among others revealed how the club has been cheating Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules for some time now and also mentioned how racially discriminatory instructions were being given to PSG’s scouts for five years.
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Ever since the Parisian club was bought by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), their financial strength in the transfer market has been magnified by a huge factor. PSG have since splashed the cash to bring players like Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani from Napoli for 64 million euros, Brazilian star Neymar from Barcelona for 222 million euros and local prodigy Kylian Mbappe from Monaco for 180 million euros. Astronomical sums have been spent and it left the footballing world wondering how PSG were still meeting FFP requirements.
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It’s simple: they cheated. Being backed by the state of Qatar via QSI, funds are unlimited for the french club. The only problem is getting it into the club while avoiding FFP sanctions. To accomplish this, the club was fed overvalued sponsorship deals from companies which receive money from QSI, thereby bypassing the FFP and keeping themselves competitive in the transfer market. The club was also protected by highly placed employees of the football world’s top institutions. Ex-UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, now the head of FIFA, allowed clubs like PSG and Manchester City to perform their scams without interference.
PSG now dominate Ligue 1 but are still to get past the quarter finals in the Champions League. That just means they will keep spending until they get their hands on the trophy.
Another piece of news, which has not quite made the front pages (maybe because it does not involve money) is the revelation by MediaPart of how PSG scouts were given instructions to discrimate against certain “profiles” of players – basically, this is just a fancy way of saying PSG upper management provided racist guidelines to their employees. The club have since admitted that this is indeed something that they were aware of but quickly pinned it on a sole employee.
The concerned employee Marc Westerloppe affirmed in a 2014 meeting that this was a request from his management.
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With all these allegations coming out in the open thanks to Football Leaks, fans of the game will hope institutions like FIFA and UEFA will take heed and act accordingly. But having been following such scandals for a while, I personally think there is little chance PSG will even be given a slap on the wrist. It will be business as usual for the french champions.
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Picture by RonnyK from Pixabay
Sources: MediaPart, Football Leaks, Spiegel, ESPN