Keyword: Financial Fair Play

Crisis? What crisis? Money no object in Qatari strategy with PSG

By Jérôme Latta
Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi at PSG’s Ligue 1 match against Reims, August 29th. © Franck Fife / AFP Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi at PSG’s Ligue 1 match against Reims, August 29th. © Franck Fife / AFP

With its signing of Argentine superstar Lionel Messi this summer, and its money-no-object refusal to agree the 180-million-euro transfer to Real Madrid of its French star forward Kylian Mbappé, football club Paris Saint-Germain’s Qatari owners, apparently immune to the financial effects of the Covid-19 crisis, once again demonstrated their unbridled ambitions in diplomacy through sport. As Jérôme Latta reports, the backdrop is the ever more deregulated structure of European football.

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When AS Monaco faced a 'neutron bomb' of fraud allegations

By and
Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, president and majority shareholder of AS Monaco. © Reuters Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, president and majority shareholder of AS Monaco. © Reuters

In December 2011, Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, with an estimated wealth of about 6.8 billion dollars from his interests in potassium fertiliser production, bought a two-thirds share in AS Monaco, the football club based in the tiny French-controlled Riviera principality of Monte Carlo, where he resides. Mediapart can reveal that his grand ambitions for the club, which plays in France’s top-flight division, Ligue 1, saw him attempt to hide his massive and illegal funding of the team behind a supposed marketing contract involving an offshore structure of companies in the British Virgin Islands and Hong Kong. But his chosen partner in the scheme finally pulled out, threatening a “neutron bomb” of revelations, while the governing body of European association football, UEFA, was to turn a blind eye to the deal.     

UEFA bosses helped cover up PSG 'financial fair play’ fraud

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PSG general manager Jean-Claude Blanc (left) with the club’s president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. © Reuters PSG general manager Jean-Claude Blanc (left) with the club’s president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. © Reuters

Over several years, Qatar injected 1.8 billion euros into French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in a massive breach of the Financial Fair Play regulations of European association football’s governing body UEFA. Mediapart reveals here the background to the affair and how the then president of UEFA, Michel Platini, and his secretary general, Gianni Infantino, who is now president of FIFA, helped cover up the fraud, allowing the club to escape exclusion from the prestigious and lucrative Champions League.