By Andrew Warshaw
March 20 – Paris St Germain have won a significant legal victory that could have widespread repercussions, with Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling against UEFA in its bid to re-open a previously closed investigation into the club’s finances.
Last November, four months after they were cleared of breaching financial fair play rules in the wake of splashing out €400 million to buy Brazilian superstar Neymar and French phenomenon Kylian Mbappe, PSG filed an appeal to CAS against UEFA’s decision to re-launch its probe.
The French champions challenged UEFA on a technicality and were vindicated by CAS – just like Turkish club Galatasaray were last month.
The judgement is separate to an ongoing investigation by UEFA regarding PSG’s 2017-18 finances but nevertheless represents a bruising for UEFA in its efforts to force clubs to balance the books.
CAS said UEFA’s panel of independent investigators and judges missed the deadline to challenge their own previous decision.
“The appeal filed at the CAS on 3 October 2018 by Paris Saint-Germain against the decision issued on 19 September 2018 by the Adjudicatory Chamber of the UEFA (to reopen the case) is upheld and the challenged decision is set aside,” CAS said in a statement.
Since being bought by its Qatari owners in 2011, PSG, who have once again under-performed on the pitch in their elusive quest to win the Champions League, have long been suspected of circumventing the rules when it comes to complying with FFP.
In 2014 they were fined €60 million by UEFA and the Financial Times reported almost a year ago that a preliminary investigation had found the value of sponsorship deals at the club had been “significantly overstated” compared with their true worth.
UEFA, which is trying its best to enforce financial transparency across Europe, said the CAS ruling “does not put in doubt the objectives of the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play system.”
UEFA said its lawyers will analyse the CAS judgment and make “any clarifications or amendments to its rules” required.
In its own statement, PSG said it had “always respected the rules and always striven to reply calmly and transparently to repeated requests from UEFA and its club finance panel.”
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