Paris Saint-Germain have ‘strongly denied’ allegations that it was involved in secret meetings with Gianni Infantino that helped the club achieve more lenient sanction for breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
According to documents obtained by Der Spiegel, Mediapart and other outlets via Football Leaks, both PSG and Manchester City breached the rules, which restrict clubs from overspending. UEFA investigated nine clubs which it believed were in breach of the FFP regulations, including PSG and Man City following the introduction of the ruling for the 2013-14 season.
Following the investigation, UEFA reached agreements with both PSG and Man City allowing them to participate in European competition. The Football Leaks documents explain how Infantino used his power as UEFA General Secretary in 2014 to put pressure on the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) who should have proposed penalties for breach of the rules.
Der Spiegel's report contains allegations to the effect that PSG's €1 billion (£880m/$1.1bn) deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) was written down to just one-tenth of its value in the report. Reportedly this was as a result of Infantino's influence, with a secret agreement meaning that the final ruling made no mention of any agreements in the settlement document.
PSG has today issued a statement refuting these allegations, writing:
"Paris Saint-Germain has always acted in full compliance with the laws and regulations enacted by sports institutions. The club has always strictly complied with all applicable laws and regulations and firmly denies the allegations published today by Mediapart. The QTA contract figure has been known to UEFA and to the general public since 2014.
"In 2014 UEFA confirmed that our contract with the Qatar Tourism Authority provided promotion and diffusion of the country. The principle of this contract is simple: today, the positive results of PSG are systematically associated with Qatar and directly benefit its image. Since the introduction of Financial fair play, Paris Saint-Germain has been one of the most audited and scrutinised clubs in history.
"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.
"Exchanges with members of the chambers of the Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) take place within the framework of UEFA's statutes. UEFA then adjudicates independently on this basis. This is demonstrated by the severity of the decisions taken regarding Paris Saint-Germain.
"Paris Saint-Germain understands and endorses the will to stabilise European football's debts and calls for fair regulation that allows sporting equity and facilitates sustainable investment in football. France is at the forefront of these issues. Since 1984 the National Directorate of Management Control (DNCG) established strict rules and obligations which go beyond those of UEFA and have proven their effectiveness in regulating the management of clubs."
"Paris Saint-Germain always acted in absolute compliance with the laws and regulations issued by sports institutions. The Club has always complied strictly with the laws and regulations in force and strongly denies the allegations published today by Mediapart. The amount of the QTA contract has been known to UEFA and the general public since 2014. In 2014, UEFA confirmed that our contract with the Qatar Tourism Board ensured the promotion and the reach the country.
"The principle of this contract is simple: today the positive results of the PSG are systematically associated with Qatar and directly benefits its image. Since the establishment of the Financial Fair Play, Paris Saint-Germain has been one of the most audited and monitored clubs in history. In addition to its own auditors, KPMG and PWC, the Club has hosted at its headquarters several auditors mandated by the football authorities. Over the last seven years, they have always benefited from comprehensive information on the Club's accounts and contracts.
“The exchanges with the members of the Chambers of the Financial Control of Clubs (ICFC) are done within the framework provided by the statutes of UEFA. On this basis, UEFA then decides independently. The severity of the decisions rendered about Paris Saint-Germain demonstrates this. Paris Saint-Germain understands and agrees with the desire to clean up European football's debt and calls for fair regulation that allows fair play and facilitates sustainable investment in football. France is in the forefront on these subjects. Since 1984, the National Board of Management Control (DNCG) has established strict rules and obligations that go beyond those of UEFA and have proven their effectiveness to oversee the management of clubs".
The Football Leaks documents also contain allegations that Infantino was connected to secret negotiations with Man City, which it is alleged had lost €451m (£400m/$510m) between 2009 and 2011 - in excess of the amounts allowed by FFP. Der Spiegel alleges that as a result of Infantino's influence, Man City's penalty for that breach of FFP was less harsh than would otherwise have been the case.
Both PSG and Man City were made to pay €20m (£17.5m/$22.8m) in fines, but escaped bans from the Champions League, but Der Spiegel's report alleges that nevertheless the agreements reached caused CFCB head Brian Quinn to tender his resignation as he believed the final rulings were too lenient.
Der Spiegel says that it and the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC) contacted Manchester City for a comment before publishing its report, with the club confirming it would not reply to the questions asked and adding: "The attempt to damage the Club's reputation is organised and clear."