Raising €80m, a tricky timeframe, shaky negotiations between two entities and a failed Di Maria transfer to Barça… RMC Sport has revealed the details on UEFA’s investigation into PSG in regards to Financial Fair Play and the Parisian club’s colossal spending during the summer transfer window.
Paris Saint-Germain have done the maths – after their astronomical spending last summer, they are €80m short from being within the regulations of Financial Fair Play. A significant sum which UEFA is worried by, but the club of the capital has already put a strategy to earn money into place.
A very detailed presentation was made by the Parisian executives in front of the European body during hearing on October 5th following an investigation launched by UEFA September 1st. A very impressive and precise presentation which left them “impressed.” To be within FFP regulations, PSG have very specific ideas. First and foremost, making sells during the next transfer window. The names at the top of list? Lucas Moura and Angel Di Maria.
But UEFA warned the club that those sales would not be sufficient. Three other essential areas need to be approached: revaluation of their sponsorship contracts with International non-Qatari brands (their two main partners: Nike and Emirates), the exclusion of sponsors coming from the Emirates as they are seen as a way to get around FFP (one of the reasons why their winter tour will take place in North America and not in Qatar), an increase in the ticket sales and the revaluation of TV earnings.
Which means that PSG may want to get behind Monaco’s European opponents. If AS Monaco is eliminated from the group stage of the Champions League, which seems very likely, the final French representative in the Champions League could earn approximately €8m.
Since the beginning of this investigation, things have been moving fast, but not fast enough for the club owners. Another hearing does not seem necessary in the short term, following the one which took place in the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on November 5th. This hearing concerned Neymar and Kylian Mbappé’s contracts, but has since concluded. According to a source close to UEFA, the subject of that hearing has been all cleared. Now it remains to be seen whether PSG can increase their revenue by €80m.
So it is not impossible to imagine PSG respect FFP this season and avoiding any form of sanction. However, is this only a guarantee for the time being? PSG will not be sanctioned this season. But if the club is sanctioned, PSG needs to be within the guidelines before the 2018-2019 champions league draw (after an eventual appeal)
If the CFCB (two-chamber Club Financial Control Body) is to sanction PSG, they will do it at the end of the investigation, expected for late January – early February 2018. In other words, after the winter transfer window. PSG however is hoping for the investigation to end as early as the end of the month of December, now that everyone knows that PSG must sell players, clubs will be lowballing them. If the investigation ends, PSG will be under less pressure (at least on the outside).
To pressure UEFA, Paris can count on the LFP. In a letter addressed to the president of the European body last week, the president, Nathalie Boy de la Tour, reaffirmed her desire to have this investigation wrapped up as quickly as possible. An update is expected by the end of November. For now, no form of sanction is expected, especially as it can greatly vary. But according to RMC, the sanction will not be financial.
Despite faultless cooperation on PSG’s behalf and the non-stop back-and-fourths with UEFA, disagreements exist between the investigators and the Parisian club. The European body has underlined a lack of clarity concerning PSG’s Qatari sponsors: beIN Sports, QNB, Ooredoo, QTA. Did PSG fully understand and correctly implement the changes made in 2015 to FFP? The aforementioned rules, which concern the 2015-2018 period, include “redefining the parties involved.” Henceforth, any sponsor which represents more than 30% of a club’s earnings are considered. “[It would be] difficult to convince us that PSG are within the framework of what is acceptable” said a source close to the club.
PSG believes that it would unfair to not count their earnings occasionally coming from companies listed on the stock exchange like Ooredoo (telecommunications), present in the Middle East and Asia. Another concern – the growth of their sponsorship earnings. Paris is clearly behind in regards to international earnings, especially in Asia. Of course, UEFA is well-aware that PSG holds a “jewel” in Neymar, but according to a source close to the investigation, the way that PSG hopes to capitalise on an international scale is not clear. According to RMC, the investigators found PSG to be poorly prepared to attempt to exploit these new markets.
This remains difficult for the PSG executives to swallow. This summer, PSG was in advanced negotiations with Barcelona for the sale of Di Maria, a deal which could have been finalised during the final hours of the Spanish transfer window, the day after the end of the French one (August 31st). But UEFA’s announcement to investigate PSG on September 1st threw everything off. Once informed of the change in circumstances, the Catalan club understood that PSG were in desperate need of money and became uncompromising in negotiations. The Parisians, who were rushed into finding money but not necessarily with a knife at their throat, turned down Barcelona’s new conditions who had returned to discuss for the player. So, not for sale. An incident which the PSG owners hope not to relive this summer, which may very well be the case, depending on the timing of the investigation conclusions.