UEFA, PSG, City tar­geted in Foot­ball Leaks rev­e­la­tions

Sunday Observer - - SPORT -

LON­DON - UEFA helped Paris Saint- Ger­main and Manch­ester City get around their own Fi­nan­cial Fair Play (FFP) rules, ac­cord­ing to a Foot­ball Leaks in­ves­ti­ga­tion pub­lished on Fri­day.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of "more than 70 mil­lion doc­u­ments" an­a­lysed "over eight months by 80 jour­nal­ists" from mem­bers of Euro­pean In­ves­tiga­tive Col­lab­o­ra­tions (EIC), UEFA "know­ingly helped the clubs to cover up their own ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties for 'po­lit­i­cal rea­sons'" un­der the lead­er­ship of Michel Pla­tini and Gianni In­fantino.

Both clubs, owned and bankrolled by wealth from Qatar and Abu Dhabi re­spec­tively, have avoided the most se­vere FFP pun­ish­ment of be­ing ex­cluded from the UEFA Cham­pi­ons League. Foot­ball Leaks claims that be­tween them Qatar and Abu Dhabi have in­jected some 4.5 bil­lion eu­ros ($5.1 bil­lion) over the last seven years to in­crease the bud­gets of the clubs they own. Of that fig­ure, 2.7 bil­lion eu­ros has been in­vested in City via their Abu-Dhabi own­ers and from al­legedly "over­es­ti­mated" spon­sor­ship deals.

Foot­ball Leaks also points the fin­ger at PSG's five-year agree­ment with the

Qatar Tourism Au­thor­ity (QTA), val­ued at 1.075 bil­lion eu­ros, or 215 mil­lion eu­ros a year.

That is de­spite the in­ves­ti­ga­tion claim­ing that "two in­de­pen­dent au­di­tors as­signed by UEFA val­ued the con­tract at... 123 000 eu­ros per year for one, and 2.8 mil­lion eu­ros a year for the other".

UEFA rules say clubs can­not spend more than they earn in any given sea­son and deficits must fall within a 30 mil­lion-euro limit over three sea­sons.

Both PSG and City were fined 60 mil­lion eu­ros by UEFA in May 2014, but both were told they would get 40 mil­lion eu­ros back if they stuck to the terms of their set­tle­ment.

French in­ves­tiga­tive web­site Me­di­a­part claims In­fantino – the cur­rent Fifa pres­i­dent who was then UEFA's gen­eral sec­re­tary – "di­rectly ne­go­ti­ated an agree­ment with Manch­ester City", by­pass­ing the Fi­nan­cial Con­trol Panel of Euro­pean foot­ball's gov­ern­ing body. His pro­posal was for a "fine of 20 mil­lion eu­ros in­stead of 60."

Re­put­edly in­cluded in copy in emails sent by In­fantino to City's Chair­man Khal­doon Al Mubarak was for­mer French pres­i­dent and PSG fan Ni­co­las Sarkozy, who also re­put­edly helped City's Abu Dhabi own­ers in their at­tempts to get around FFP rules.

Sarkozy's press of­fi­cer re­sponded to Me­di­a­part by say­ing that "as a lawyer, Ni­co­las Sarkozy pro­vided no coun­sel to the peo­ple you men­tion".

For­mer UEFA Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Gianni In­fantino, now FIFA Pres­i­dent.

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