‘Golden prison’ – Problems mount in PSG’s new training centre

According to L’Équipe, Paris Saint-Germain’s move at the start of the year to a new training centre has brought with it concerns over the infrastructure of the new build and endemic problems with the educational side of their academy with staff on leave, management criticised, and parental discontent. 

Since the opening of PSG’s new training centre in January there has been an increased number of staff on sick leave with up to nine absent last month, including teachers, school officials, and management. The move to Poissy did cause these problems but is thought to have highlighted an already present issue at the club. 

The 2023 appointment of a new head of education, Mehdi Rahoui, has been internally criticised for bringing a harsh and suspicious approach to the role, although others have praised him for installing a sense of order to the job. An internal investigation into allegations of harassment within the education department has been requested by the Social and Economic Committee at PSG. 

A teacher recently resigned, while another, recruited by an academic support company Acadomia, was fired. Two other former teachers are currently in proceedings against the club after they were dismissed from their roles. While, at the start of the 2023 academic year, teachers were also asked to change from a permanent contract to a fixed-term contract. Some who refused were subsequently let go. 

Concerned parents

L’Équipe further reports that parents of final-year students sent a letter concerned over the state of the education their children were receiving, with many having to give private lessons to their children, such as with Ethan Mbappé (17). Two classes did not have a Spanish teacher until last month but have impending exams, while some teachers have been criticised for their poor qualifications. 

A complaint was filed to the police about an economics teacher recruited by the new education team last summer and who has since been released from the role for inappropriate behaviour. Teachers and students at the club were interviewed by the police. 

It is not just parents who are concerned by the state of education at the club, with students upset that liked teachers have been let go, and an austere environment has left them with little freedom. They consider themselves trapped in a “golden prison” unable to use their phones, constantly monitored on camera, and with less free time than at their previous campus. 

The infrastructure of the new building has also been worrying. There have been several technical problems, most notably a collapsed ceiling, leaks, a lack of heating in some rooms, toilets that do not flush, and electronic doors that become stuck. 

PSG respond

The club responded to L’Équipe stating, “Changes require effort and we know that people don’t like it when we change their habits. We have fully internalised schooling since January, so we have to give time to Medhi Rahoui who only arrived at the start of the year. We are in the process of implementing a new project with a new and more demanding pedagogy, changing things to improve the level of students and their results.” 

They continued, “We pay more attention to the qualifications of the teachers recruited. There was a need for change even though we know there are still things to improve. The club’s ambition is to move towards more innovative schooling adapted to students. We hold regular masterclasses with club leaders and have intensified revision sessions from next week.” On the point of absentees, the club rejected the implication that hours had been missed stating that only 1.36% of hours were missed by sick leave.

GFFN | Nick Hartland

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