Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has officially unveiled its hugely lucrative sponsorship deal with Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and has denied that the controversial agreement infringes upon Financial Fair Play regulations.
The partnership was first revealed in December 2012 and while terms have not been officially disclosed, French media outlets report that it will be worth between Eur150 million and Eur200 million per year with the contract back-dated to 2012 and increasing in value on an annual basis through 2016. PSG states the deal will break new ground in commercial agreements for sports organisations, with QTA seeking to leverage the growing global brand of the Ligue 1 champion to promote Qatar as a travel destination. Rashed Al Qurese, director of marketing and promotions at QTA, said: “Tourism promotion is critical for Qatar to promote its economy, cultural heritage and offerings as a destination. QTA is delighted to have in Paris Saint-Germain as partner of choice with whom we can develop engaging and impactful promotional experiences for international fans and business partners, as well as the residents of Qatar and France. By partnering with Paris Saint-Germain, Qatar also associates itself with Paris, a destination of choice with which we share a sense of prestige, ambition and excellence.”
QTA’s partnership with PSG will also involve associations with the club’s women’s team and its handball outfit with a view to promoting Qatar’s staging of the Handball World Championship in 2015. From November onwards, several outdoor billboards, located in key spots around Paris, will highlight PSG players in front of iconic Qatar landmarks – uniting the club and the country under the banner ‘Partners in Dreams.’ PSG said the deal opens up new markets to the club, and provides access to an even bigger audience, in line with its global development strategy. Under the terms of the deal, PSG will also be able to access world-class training facilities in Qatar such as the ASPIRE Zone during its annual winter tour. Jean-Claude Blanc, deputy CEO of Paris Saint-Germain, said: “Our association with QTA allows us to have the means necessary to develop the club in the direction that we envision. The club’s image clearly benefits from it and so do our results. We are able to give our supporters a high level of performance matching their expectations and our ambitions.”
Initial reports of the deal instantly drew questions as to its implications regarding UEFA’s financial fair play regulations. The deal is said to be worth twice the club’s revenues for the 2010-11 season, but Blanc has played down accusations of a conflict of interests between QTA and PSG’s owners Qatar Sports Investments (QSI). “QSI and QTA are two separate entities legally and in terms of accounting standards,” said Blanc, according to French newspaper Les Echos. “One is an investment fund , the other a public body. They are therefore not related parties.”