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Dec 17, 2013

PSG want to be 'global sporting brand'

Paris Saint-Germain CEO Jean-Claude Blanc has stated the club's ambition to establish themselves in "the top 10 of brands" in world sport and rival the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United.

Johnson: PSG's Coupe quest for domestic dominance

Since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) took over PSG in summer 2011, the club has been transformed from a major player on the domestic scene to a genuine heavyweight on the European stage.

Blanc, 50, told Les Echos the French champions are not finished yet. "Our ambition is to make Paris Saint-Germain a global sporting brand. We want to get into the top 10 of brands along with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Ferrari or the All Blacks," the former Juventus CEO explained.

"In sport, there are clubs that, regardless of their talent, are barely known outside their city or country. Dortmund are an excellent team, but their media potential is naturally limited. We're fortunate to be able to use the image of Paris."

While the iconic images of the French capital will help give PSG a certain chic, it will not entirely provide the massive funds required to keep the team ultra-competitive on the pitch.

A document destined for PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi and leaked in the French media recently showed how the club plan to make a five-fold increase in their budget from the relatively modest 93.9 million euros they had to spend in 2010-11 to the 540 million euros they hope to generate by 2016-17 to enable them to compete with the planet's biggest clubs.

"We have to win, but we also have to give ourselves the means to win. That's why, between now and 2015, want to build a budget of 500 million euros. Then we'll be in the same category as a team like Real Madrid. We've come a long way. In 2011, our budget was less than 90 million euros. We're now up to 400 million. We still have 20 percent to go," said Blanc, who has helped broker new, more lucrative deals with kit suppliers Nike and shirt sponsors Emirates, as well as the naming rights agreement with Qatari mobile operator Ooredoo for the club's training centre.

"All clubs rely on ticket revenue, food and drink stands, executive boxes, fan shops, but also on national TV rights, European competitions, merchandising, and of course, sponsoring. For us, who want things to go quickly, we have to take inspiration from what already works, but also to find new sources of revenue."

The majority of the new money flooding into the club will come from the recently announced agreement with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), which could be worth up to 200 million euros annually.

Critics, notably Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas, have claimed the deal falls foul of UEFA's financial fair play regulations. Philippe Boindrieux, PSG's deputy director general in charge of finance, put forward the club's arguments at UEFA HQ in Switzerland in late November with European football's governing body set to make a ruling next year.

"We've explained to UEFA our strategy which is atypical but legitimate. UEFA will give us a first indication in January," Blanc stated. "We'll perhaps have to produce extra elements, but let's be clear: the objective of financial fair play must not be to set things as they are in stone, to prolong existing situations or make football a closed club."

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