Aulas warns of big money Middle Eastern rivalries destabilising European game

Jean-Michel Aulas

August 21 – The president of Olympique Lyonnais, one of the leading voices to speak out over the size of the €222 million world record transfer of Neymar to French rivals Paris St Germain, has taken yet another opportunity to warn of the repercussions of the deal in terms of competitive imbalance.

Jean-Michel Aulas (pictured) told Le Monde that there was now a danger that the biggest European transfers could simply end up as a game of ego-massaging between rival Middle Eastern money men who control some of the Continent’s biggest clubs.

“Football should not be reduced to fratricidal rivalry between Abu Dhabi and Qatar where money generated determines the ability to be the best on a sporting level,” said Aulas.

“At European level, we are currently working with UEFA towards a new version of Financial Fair Play. In the Neymar case … there is a lot of uncertainty as to whether the $222 million is an indemnity – in the Spanish sense of the term where the player redeems his contract years – or is a transfer.”

“The way things went, that is without the initial agreement of the (selling) club … suggests that it is not a transfer.”

Aulas said that European Clubs Association were increasingly concerned about spiralling transfer fees and wages. “There is a concern that there is no longer any limit and that this process both destabilises the market and raises the problem of permanent wage inflation,” he said.

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