Sunday, October 1, 2023

Can PSG really be worried about UEFA over its signings with Qatar?

UEFA will study the three sales (Diallo, Verratti, Draxler) made this summer by PSG, owned by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), to Qatari clubs. If the European body considers that the buyer and seller are “related parties”, Paris Saint-Germain could be sanctioned. We still have to prove it.

The departure of Javier Tebas, president of the Spanish Football League, regarding the transfers of Parisian players to Qatari clubs, has given rise to a lot of talk for several days. A statement (“Do they take us for idiots?”) is not trivial on a topic that fascinates the head of the League: PSG. This summer, the capital club carried out several transactions with Qatari clubs. Abdou Diallo left the Paris ship to sign for Al-Arabi (for around 15 million euros), the same club as Marco Verratti (for 45 million euros). Finally, Julian Draxler has just signed for Al-Ahli, although according to those close to the PSG management we would be “far away” from the aforementioned sum of 20 million euros.

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So what is the problem ? Our colleagues at L’Equipe report this Monday afternoon that PSG’s transfers to Qatar will be examined by UEFA as part of financial fair play. “Like many transfers, they will be analyzed,” justifies an executive of the European organization. Therefore, these transactions with Qatari clubs should go unnoticed by the Club Financial Control Body. Body that can impose disciplinary measures for non-compliance with its requirements.

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“Related parties”?

The proximity between the buyers (Qatari clubs) and the seller (PSG with its main shareholder QSI) will be examined to determine whether they are “related parties”. Furthermore, the amount and nature of the transactions “will therefore be closely monitored.”

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“Transactions between related parties are not necessarily carried out at fair value,” UEFA regulations underline. In defining the term “related party”: “A person, entity or government that is related to the entity presenting the financial statements. In analyzing all possibilities for related party relationships, special attention is focused on the substance of the relationships, and not simply in its legal form.”

If the supervisory body recognizes a transaction between “related parties”, then the capital club could see the amount of the transactions not taken into account in the financial documents submitted to UEFA. Those around the capital club highlight that the transfers “were made at market value” and that other clubs “offered much more than Qatar” for the players, for example in the Marco Verratti case. For some managers, this file “brings to the foreground transactions between clubs of the same owner.” Only in this case an important clarification is added: QSI does not own the purchasing clubs, not even a single team in the Qatari championship.

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Furthermore, PSG should not be the only club to see its transfer market examined. UEFA could thus be interested in another summer operation: the transfer of Allan Saint-Maximin, from Newcastle – owned by the public investment fund of Saudi Arabia – to the Saudi club Al-Ahli, for more than 20 million euros.

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