PSG, Manchester City deny FFP wrongdoing amid leaked documents
Paris Saint-Germain has denied reports that the club engaged in fraud to avoid financial fair play (FFP) sanctions and from being excluded from European competition.
The details were revealed on Friday by French outlet Mediapart and primarily reported by Germany's Der Spiegel as part of a "Football Leaks" investigative series.
"PSG has always acted in full compliance with the laws and regulations enacted by sports institutions," the club said in a statement. "The Club has always strictly complied with all applicable laws and regulations and firmly denies the allegations published today by Mediapart.
"Since the introduction of Financial Fair Play (FFP), PSG has been one of the most audited and scrutinised clubs in history," the statement continued. "In addition to its own auditors, KPMG and then PWC, the club has hosted at its headquarters several auditors mandated by the football authorities. Over the last seven years these auditors have always benefited from comprehensive information on the club's accounts and contracts."
Oryx Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), the group that owns PSG, is alleged to have injected €1.8 billion into the club since their 2011 takeover with help from disgraced former UEFA president Michel Platini, as well as current FIFA president and ex-UEFA secretary general Gianni Infantino.
Former France president Nicolas Sarkozy was also reportedly involved, telling the now Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in a 2010 meeting that Platini would be instructed to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup if the French capital club were bought and a sports television channel launched in France (beIN Sports).
Following Friday's revelations, club director general Jean-Claude Blanc accused UEFA's FFP plan of having been "gradually altered" to preserve a "well-organised cartel of clubs."
Blanc later said on Canal+ that: "No, we are not afraid of being excluded from the Champions League after the Mediapart revelations ...We are serene -- we have always been transparent."
PSG are not the only club concerned by the reports, with Premier League club Manchester City also supposedly benefitting from Sarkozy's influence to avoid FFP sanctions. City's owners from the United Arab Emirates are said to have injected €2.7bn over the past seven years through shareholders and over-valued sponsorship contracts that exceed FFP limits.
Infantino's close relationship with City CEO Khaldoon Al Mubarak while with UEFA was also cited, as well as the UEFA council asking City to come up with their own FFP punishment for a €233 million loss between 2011-13. However, City's response has been minimal, simply preferring to say that they "will not be providing any comment on out of context materials purported to have been hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people.
"We will not be providing any comment on out of context materials purportedly hacked or stolen from City Football Group and Manchester City personnel and associated people," the English Premier League champion said in regards to the Football Leaks reports. "The attempt to damage the club's reputation is organized and clear."
Infantino defended his actions as UEFA head, and later FIFA, in an interview with The Associated Press just days before the documents' release.
"My job entails having discussions, having conversations, exchanging documents, drafts, ideas, whatever, on many, many, many, many, topics. Otherwise you don't go anywhere," he said, when asked about the upcoming release of the information. "I mean, if I just have to stay in my room and not speak to anyone and cannot do anything, how can I do my job properly? So if, then, this is being portrayed as something bad, there's not much I can do more than my job in an honest way, in a professional way and trying to defend the interests of football."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.