UEFA, PSG, City targeted in Football Leaks revelations
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.