Wednesday, June 19, 2019
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Financial fair play: the Paris-SG, "collateral victim"?

Among all the constraints or situations enclosing the Paris-SG in a straitjacket of which it has a hard time getting out, there is one heavier than the others: financial fair play, a rule gradually put in place since 2010 by the European Football Union (UEFA) ordering clubs to balance their spending and revenue to some extent, on pain of sanctions that may go as far as prohibiting European competitions – as long as a club does not Qualify not for the Europa League or the Champions League, it escapes the radar of the instance. Qatar Sports Investments, which owns the Parisian club, found the parade: abound accounts with Qatari sponsors, such as the emirate's tourist office, its telecommunications company Ooredoo, or Qatar National Bank.

"Departure". Except that financial fair play limits the financing of "Related parties". In fact, UEFA has seized the contracts from Qatar to make haircuts, the pressure of the case has intensified after a summer 2017 that saw the arrival of Neymar and Mbappé for some 400 million euros; the loaded salaries of both players also weigh about 50 million a year. In July, the Parisian leaders had a pleasant surprise: the chamber of instruction of the Swiss authority validated their accounts without modifying the amounts "Not to harm the 2018-2019 Champions League", an argument that wants everything and nothing to say. In September, badaboum: the UEFA Trial Chamber refused to endorse these conclusions and sent the case back for "Thorough examination" in front of … the training room.

Read alsoManchester United – Paris-SG: the parable of the metatarsal

Furious, the club attacked this decision before the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS): "We are in uncertainty, had justified the deputy general manager, Jean-Claude Blanc. While we have 700 employees, many teams [dans les catégories jeunes] on all grounds. We need visibility, like all businesses. " Until the verdict of the CAS falls, UEFA has frozen its investigations: we are there. It remains to penetrate the spirit of the laws. "The starting point of financial fair play is twofold, decrypts an ex-member of the instance. To ensure that players are paid by clubs [ce qui est assez aléatoire dans certains pays de l’Est ou d’Europe orientale, ndlr] by fighting their deficit and, more subterranously, trying to draw money by looking at the accounts. The PSG is a kind of collateral victim: neither of the two points is a problem, it is clear that the players will always be paid rubies on the nail and the money comes from the sovereign funds, it is one of the most "cleans" that we can find in football. "

Logic. In the meantime, Neymar and Mbappé hide a reality: the impoverishment of the rest of the workforce and particularly the sidelines, where there were formerly Argentine (Pastore), Brazilian (Moura) or French (Jallet, Sakho) internationals. The downgrading of Qatari state contracts also raises a question of substance. The Gulf country is no mystery: its investment in football – it will also organize the World Cup 2022 – constitute a kind of soft power, sensitizing international opinion to its existence and allowing it to build and cultivate networks. So, to a certain extent, they make it possible to guarantee the territorial integrity of Qatar: how to put a figure in the face of such logic? We come back to the price of football: it all depends on the logic of the buyer, that is to say that it does not exist independently of intentions and context. If the TAS rejects the referral to Paris-SG, the UEFA investigative chamber will resume its pilgrim's baton and assessments. It should be noted that a negotiation phase is planned in the very procedure of the application of financial fair play. A nice possible outcome: it is the door open to all windows, as the other would say.

Grégory Schneider



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