Mediapart claim as part of the Football Leaks series that PSG’s sponsorship contract with the Qatari Tourism Authority (QTA), which was a €1.075bn deal over five years, was overvalued by the Ligue 1 club by 77 times more than the market rate amount, meaning that the deal should have only seen PSG rake in €2.78m.
It was after this revelation uncovered by the CFCB Investigatory Chamber in 2014 that Michel Platini and Gianni Infantino are said to have met with President Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Director General Jean-Claude Blanc, in order to resolve this major FFP violation, with the UEFA men proposing that the parties “settle this amicably”.
In this negotiating process, much like in his dealings with Manchester City, Infantino is alleged to have given several concessions to PSG, including the the eventual fine that Les Parisiens were expected to pay going from €60m to €20m, and ignoring the advice of the CFCB Investigatory Chamber in devaluing the QTA sponsorship contract to the extent that they recommended.
A Football Leaks document obtained by Mediapart showed that UEFA were never considering excluding PSG from the Champions’ League, despite the fact that FFP regulations state that this is a just cause of action, with a quote from an email stating: “You have to be reasonable and try to find solutions that will not affect the quality [of the competition].”
PSG intriguingly failed to honour certain obligations in their QTA contract, which raises doubt as to why the QTA did not pursue Les Parisiens for breach of contract. Notably, their decision to have the “Qatar Winter Tour” in Marrakech, when the deal required them to hold it in Doha instead.
After being asked for comment by Mediapart, PSG merely responded that “these contracts are normal”.
The report also focuses on the change to FFP regulations that occurred in 2015, which aims to prevent “state-controlled” clubs from seeing sponsors from one country providing more than 30% of club revenues. As a result, PSG had to devalue certain contracts, including those with BeIN Sports and the QTA. They did not reduce their expensed though, shortly thereafter purchasing Kylian Mbappé and Neymar for a total of €402m.
Mediapart also reveals that as recently as May 2018, UEFA proposed a new “secret and unofficial agreement” to PSG over their FFP violations, following the opening of a new CFCB Investigatory Chamber enquiry into Les Parisiens’ books in September 2017. This new agreement would see PSG raise significant funds through player sales and then not receive an FFP punishment.
In June 2018, it is understood that PSG informed UEFA that they would accept their QTA contract to be devalued to just €60m, but the CFCB Investigatory Chamber refused, judging that to be too lenient a position.
Les Parisiens did this summer seek to redress the books, making player sales worth around €150m and spending very little, but the ding dong battle between the CFCB Investigatory Chamber and PSG is not over.