PSG transfer mega-spend triggers UEFA investigation into financial finagling

PSG dreams

By Andrew Warshaw

September 4 – Despite insisting they have played strictly by the rules, Paris St Germain’s eye-watering spending spree during the latter part of the summer transfer window is to be investigated by UEFA for possible breaches of financial fair play.

Last week, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin shrugged off suggestions that his organisation had become weak-willed when it came to enforcing FFP and the latest get-tough approach will be welcomed by those who question how PSG, for all their financial muscle, intend to finance their record-breaking investments in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The Qatari-owned French club first smashed the world transfer record when they paid €222 million to secure the services of Neymar and followed that up by recruiting Mbappe, the world’s most highly prized teenager, on a season-long loan from Monaco.

Although technically a loan, the deal included an option – interpreted by many experts as a commitment – to buy Mbappe next summer for a fee of around €180 million which would represent the second-highest sum ever paid after Neymar.

Back in 2014, PSG were heavily fined by UEFA and ordered to trim their Champions League squad to 21 players. UEFA announced in April that the club were now complying and while it seems inconceivable that PSG will not have done its homework in terms of how to conduct its future transfer business, Ceferin and his team of financial experts are clearly concerned that PSG might be in danger of again flouting rules that are expressly designed to control excessive spending and ensure clubs live within their means.

In a statement UEFA said: “The investigatory chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body has opened a formal investigation into Paris St Germain as part of its ongoing monitoring of clubs under Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.

“The investigation will focus on the compliance of the club with the break-even requirement, particularly in light of its recent transfer activity.

“In the coming months, the investigatory chamber of the UEFA Club Financial Control Body will regularly meet in order to carefully evaluate all documentation pertaining to this case.

“UEFA considers Financial Fair Play to be a crucial governance mechanism which aims to ensure the financial sustainability of European club football.

“UEFA will make no further comments on this matter while the investigation is ongoing.”

PSG, who have been owned by Qatar Sports Investments since 2011, reacted immediately by saying it they were “surprised by this approach” from UEFA especially since officials reportedly met UEFA experts in Paris last week.

“The club is surprised by such a decision since it constantly kept UEFA’s financial Fair Play teams informed of the impact of all the player transfers carried out this summer despite not being obliged to do so,” PSG said in a statement.

“The club is very confident in its ability to demonstrate that it will fully comply with Financial Fair Play rules for the fiscal year 2017-2018. The club also reminds, if necessary, that it has under contract many high valued players allowing the club to generate very significant capital gains.”

Whilst there is no suggestion that PSG may be thrown out of this season’s Champions League, expulsion is one of many options open to UEFA. After all, the whole raison d’etre of FFP is to prevent rich owners from trying to buy success and distort the market.

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1713611955labto1713611955ofdlr1713611955owedi1713611955sni@w1713611955ahsra1713611955w.wer1713611955dna1713611955