Paris: Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al Khelaifi told AFP on Tuesday that Financial Fair Play is “unfair” after a summer in which the French champions were hit with sanctions for breaching Uefa’s regulations.
“For me, FFP is unfair. It stops new investors from coming into football,” said Al Khelaifi, who became PSG president after Qatar Sports Investments bought the French capital club in 2011.
QSI sanctioned the spending of huge sums in the transfer market in their first three summers at the Parc des Princes in a bid to turn the club into one of Europe’s biggest, culminating in the €64 million (Dh309 million) recruitment of Edinson Cavani from Napoli in July 2013.
But in May, PSG, along with Premier League champions Manchester City, were slapped with a fine of €60 million for breaching FFP regulations, namely accruing losses in excess of the €45-million limit over the course of the past two seasons.
The French champions also agreed not to increase their wage bill for the next two campaigns and to “significantly limit spending” in the transfer market while curbing losses to no more than €30 million next year.
That compromises their chances of competing in the Champions League against the financial might of the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and the cash-rich giants of the English Premier League.
“It protects the big clubs and obliges the smaller ones to remain small clubs,” Al Khelaifi continued. “If investors are prevented from coming into football, they will invest in Formula One or elsewhere.
“It is not good for football. We are ready to work within the rules but I hope Uefa are going to change it next year because a lot of clubs have complained. I hope a solution can be found.”
Ironically, FFP makes it practically impossible for clubs within France to compete with PSG’s strength domestically as Laurent Blanc’s side chase a third consecutive Ligue 1 title.
‘Worried for French football’
Just a year ago, Monaco splashed out over €150 million in the transfer market, the majority going on signing Colombian stars James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao.
That saw them emerge as a genuine threat to PSG’s hegemony, but Russian billionaire owner Dimitri Rybolovlev has now reined in his spending, with the need to adhere to FFP cited as the principal reason.
Rodriguez was sold to Madrid for up to €80 million while Falcao was touted around Europe’s leading clubs before joining Manchester United on loan on transfer deadline day.
They were not replaced, and Monaco’s chances of challenging for the title, a year after finishing second with a record points tally, appear slim.
“I’m not worried for PSG but I am worried for French football,” said Al Khelaifi when asked about the apparent lack of competitiveness in Ligue 1.
“It is not good to see great players leaving. I was very happy to see a major investor at Monaco and I hope that others will come because it’s very important for French football.”
The constraints of PSG limited their summer recruitment drive to a €49.5 million splash on Chelsea’s Brazil defender David Luiz, while Serge Aurier joined from Toulouse on an initial one-year loan.
They had to abandon moves to sign Argentina winger Angel di Maria because that would have meant selling someone first, something Al Khelaifi was not prepared to do.
Di Maria ended up joining Manchester United for a British record fee of £59.7 million.
“Financial Fair Play has been a bit difficult for us but it hasn’t stopped us,” said Al Khelaifi. “For Di Maria, I had discussions with Real Madrid and my friend [president] Florentino Perez but we didn’t reach an agreement on the price and so we stopped the discussions.
“I think our squad is fine as it is. We didn’t need any other players. We had already spent an awful lot on players over the last three years. The idea is to construct a great club, with stability now.”
And the likes of Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore, all expensive signings of the QSI era, remain despite being linked with moves away.
“When we buy a player it is because we believe in his qualities. We had very significant offers for several players. I said no. Stability is very important.”