PSG and BeIN Sports boss Nasser al-Khelaifi in second illegal employment complaint

Justice — Investigation

The Paris public prosecution services are investigating two formal complaints, the latest filed on March 23rd, alleging that Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of the Paris Saint-Germain football club and also chairman of Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, illegally employed in France his former major-domo and an advisor by paying them through fake contracts as coaches with his Smash Tennis Academy in Doha. Khelaifi, one of the most powerful figures in world football, denies the accusations. Yann Philippin reports.

French football federation boss slammed for sexual harassment and ‘behavioural excesses’


A report concluding a five-month administrative investigation into the management of the French Football Federation has found that its president, Noël Le Graët, repeatedly sent sexually explicit phone text messages to female staff, that his “offensive” comments “may be accentuated by the excessive consumption of alcohol,” and that he oversaw a “sexist and violent” atmosphere within the federation. Sports minister Amélie Oudéa-Castéra has called on the 81-year-old to resign amid the latest of several scandals that have rocked the world of sport in France. Youmni Kezzouf reports. 

Qatar suspected of targeting Mediapart in global hacking operation


A joint investigation by The Sunday Times and the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism has reported that a group of Indian hackers were hired to spy on journalists and other individuals “who threatened to expose wrongdoing” over the awarding to Qatar of this year’s football World Cup. Among the “dozen” people reported to have been targeted are former UEFA president Michel Platini, French senator Nathalie Goulet, and Mediapart journalist Yann Philippin. Qatar denies any involvement in the hacking operation. Fabrice Arfi and Michaël Hajdenberg report.

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


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.

French footballers banned from wearing headscarves stage their own tournament

France — Report

Wearing a headscarf or hijab during a football match is authorised by the sport's world governing body FIFA. But they remained banned for official games in France. A group of Muslim women players are fighting against this discriminatory policy and are calling on the French football authorities, the Fédération Française de Football (FFF), to change their rules. As part of that battle the group, known as Les Hijabeuses, organised a football tournament on the outskirts of Paris. Mickaël Correia reports.

PSG, Basaksehir players walk off over alleged racism by match official

France — Link

Row erupted after Basaksehir assistant coach Pierre Webo, the former Cameroon international, was shown a red card during a row on the touchline with staff from the Turkish club appearing to accuse the Romanian fourth official of using a racist term.

'Thank you Nasser for your gift': when FIFA secretary general found luxury watch in his Qatar hotel room

International — Investigation

Shortly after a committee of world football governing body FIFA in February 2015 controversially recommended that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could be played in winter, the then FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke secretly met with Qatari businessman Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of French football club PSG and chairman of beIN Sports, who was thanked by Valcke hours later for a gift of a watch worth 40,000 euros, according to phone text messages revealed here by Mediapart. Al-Khelaifi denies he was behind the gift. Swiss prosecutors, meanwhile, have dropped their probe of the two men over suspected bribery, which included Valcke’s free use of a luxurious villa bought by al-Khelaifi in Sardinia. Yann Philippin reports.

Ex-sports minister says French league cancelled too early

France — Link

Patrick Kanner, sports minister from 2014-17, thinks the leagues felt pressured following PM's televised address into calling their seasons off, and that play might have been able to go ahead in the right conditions.

Club boss urges French PM to reconsider ending football season

France — Link

Lyon's presidsent Jean-Michel Aulas said French football would face an 'unprecedented economic and social crisis' because of decision to end the football season early.

Paris St-Germain awarded title as French football season ends early

France — Link

PSG were 12 points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand, when French football was suspended indefinitely on 13 March.

Why new 'anti-White racism' ideology is the legacy of ignoring France's colonial question

France — Opinion

The notion of 'anti-White racism' is an ideological construct aimed at downplaying the systemic, social and cultural racism endured by black people and people of North African origin in France. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel says that its emergence in public debate is a sign of how France has failed to face up to the issue of colonialism, to both its long past and its persistence today.

French football match suspended after fans display homophobic banners

France — Link

Referee stopped Nice-Marseille  game for 10 minutes after banners and chants - incident is latest in a series to have occurred in France.

Algeria's Africa Cup win sparks street parties across France

France — Link

In Paris, car horns could be heard beeping as crowds waving Algerian flags headed towards the Champs-Élysées to celebrate win over Senegal.

France's World Cup win and the glories of immigration

France — Link

The New Yorker's Adam Gopnik argues that 'the French team, now the finest in the world’s most popular sport, is entirely dependent for its greatness on immigration, on the extraordinary things that only a cosmopolitan civilization can achieve'.

France lift second World Cup title in 4-2 victory over brave Croatia

International — Link

In the final of the football World Cup tournament held this summer in Russia, a largely young France team brimming with individual talent beat a hard-fighting but unlucky Crotia by four goals to two in a highly entertaining match marked by questionable refereeing decisions.