Paris Saint-Germain is in the headlines again, this time for financial reasons.
Football Leaks, a website that has published leaked information pertaining to soccer, released to a pair of media outlets, Mediapart in France and Der Spiegel in Germany, documents alleging fraud and greed at the highest levels of European soccer. Pertaining to PSG, documents provided to Mediapart state that the nation of Qatar invested more than $2 billion into the club after purchasing the team in 2011. It was that very year that UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules went into effect, and the money brought into the club likely would have led to harsh penalties against PSG, including being barred from the UEFA competitions, including the Champions League.
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The reports make the shocking claim that then-UEFA president Michel Platini and then-UEFA general secretary, now FIFA president Gianni Infantino helped cover up this information, keeping PSG in the Champions League and much of their investment off the books.
At the time, the FFP rules were put into place to promote and force clubs to try and balance the books, that way they wouldn’t be subject to overspending beyond their means and in a few years, become liquidated and destroyed as a club. However, it was around this time when wealthy business people from the Middle East and later east Asia began investing heavily in clubs, leveraging their vast fortunes against the club’s debts and transfer fees.
The second story in Der Spiegel centers around how in 2016, Bayern Munich lawyers were looking into the feasibility of withdrawing from the Bundesliga, not allowing players to play for national teams and potentially joining a European super league. Bayern Munich has denied any involvement in this story but if the reports are true, then it appears that there was serious consideration at the highest levels of Bayern about whether they should leave the Bundesliga to make more money.
Bayern and the rest of the teams that potentially would have been in the super league eventually won concessions from UEFA, including giving the top four nations in terms of coefficient four direct spots in the Champions League group stage, ensuring that the top four clubs in nations like England, Spain, Italy and Germany were reassured that they’d be playing meaningful European games in the fall and potentially in the spring.