November 9 – France’s Human Rights League says it will file a legal complaint against Paris Saint Germain (PSG) following yet more exposure from Football Leaks into the club’s way of operating, this time over alleged racism within its scouting system.
The website Mediapart, which based its allegations on Football Leaks documents, claims PSG had until the spring of 2018 racially profiled young players in order to limit their number of black academy players. The club allegedly listed the origin of players in four categories: “Francais” (French), “Maghrebin” (North African), “Antillais” (West Indian), and “Afrique noire” (Black African).
It is against French law to collect personal data which reveals racial or ethnic origins of individuals.
“These practices, if confirmed, are illegal,” HRL said. “This is why the Human Rights League has decided to file to the public prosecutor a complaint … to punish the culprits.”
Based on the documents, PSG’s former chief scout in France, Marc Westerloppe, allegedly told colleagues some years ago that “there is a problem with the direction of this club…there are too many West Indians and Africans in Paris”.
France’s Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu warned of consequences and said she had asked French football authorities to investigate the case.
“If this is proved true, they are punishable by disciplinary or even criminal punishment,” she said. “It is not acceptable that people are identified and recruited according to their skin colour or origin,”
If found guilty those responsible could face five years in jail and a €300,000 fine.
Responding to the claims, PSG said that between 2013 and 2018, their scouting department filled out evaluation forms on some young players, including stating ethnicity, and said they were investigating “to understand how such practices could exist and decide what measures must be taken”.
Paris St-Germain said the forms were established “purely on the personal initiative of the person in charge of this department”, adding that recruitment is decided only on “skills and behaviour” and that racial profiling went against PSG’s “spirit and values”.
The club stressed the disputed practice had ceased.
“We are talking about one recruiting unit with a manager who put that in place from 2013 until 2017, without our knowledge,” the spokesman said, before adding “all these people have left” the club.
Nevertheless PSG general manager Jean Claude Blanc told the BBC he was “shocked” and “felt betrayed”
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