Champions League

Corruption in Football: FIFA, UEFA and European clubs involved in the scandal?

In the shocking turn of events, Football Leaks, whistle-blowers in the world of football have made some serious accusations against governing bodies in football and a number of European clubs.

Arab money wasn’t such a problem for football fans as long as it made Manchester City and PSG stronger in the transfer market. But in what could be tagged as the most shocking news in the football world, Football Leaks has revealed that both the clubs were illegally helped by none other than current FIFA President Gianni Infantino to sort out Financial Fair Play issues.

Football Leaks is a footballing equivalent of WikiLeaks, which has busted open a number of transfer and tax frauds in the past. But the website, with the help of Spiegel Online, has now revealed possibly the darkest side of football.

What is the exact issue?

Back in 2013-14, UEFA had set new rules for the clubs participating in European competitions – Financial Fair Play (FFP). FFP was introduced to allow UEFA to keep an eye on the financial records of various European clubs. With the introduction of Arab money in football (Read Manchester City and PSG), it was important for the governing body to make sure everything was clean behind the closed doors.

As expected, both PSG and Manchester City came under UEFA’s scanner for their massive sponsorship deals, interestingly only with companies from the middle east. One of the deals in question was PSG’s 215 million euros per year deal with Qatari Tourism Authority signed back in 2012. The sponsorship deal was signed just as an “Agreement for the Promotion of the Image of Qatar” with no logos on the shirt and giant hoardings at Parc des Princes whatsoever. This obviously made UEFA officials curious and after investing, it was revealed that the “fair market value” of this deal was just 2.78 million euros. 1/80th of the actual amount – That is one way to inflate the amount. (Bear in mind, this is just an example of one sponsorship deal out of numerous deals made with various middle eastern companies)

PSG were nowhere in the FFP bracket as required by UEFA. The investigation began in early 2014 where the Parisians could have been thrown out of the Champions League if proven guilty. But out of nowhere, the French side reached a settlement agreement with UEFA in May 2014 with just 20 million euros penalty. At the same time, something similar was happening at Manchester City as well where the Premier League side was also allowed to leave unscratched for 20 million euros penalty.

Gianni Infantino’s involvement:

For all of you wondering – How the hell were PSG and Manchester City allowed to go home with just 20 million euros penalty? Here is how former UEFA General Secretary and current FIFA President changed the course of the investigation.

Football Leaks has more than thousands of documents and emails which reveal that Infantino was involved in the negotiations with both the clubs and eventually saved them from being thrown out of the Champions League. With a number of secret meetings with PSG and Man City officials, then UEFA General Secretary helped them in putting massive sponsorship deals in numbers needed by UEFA. Basically, Infantino helped both PSG and Man City to clear up the entire mess to show UEFA that everything was according to the rules in Paris and Manchester, respectively. Here, at Spiegel Online you can read in detail about Infantino’s involvement in the case.

Infantino also held talks with club officials, supplied them with confidential material and solved the entire issue while betraying his own organization. Then UEFA President Michel Platini’s name has also come up in the documents as the Frenchman was present during “discussion” with PSG officials.

As this news is just a revelation by whistle-blower website Football Leaks, no person involved or club has made any comments on the accusations.

Author’s Take:

This whole thing is simply difficult to digest right now. I would really suggest you go through the details of Infantino’s involvement in hiding PSG and Manchester City’s misuse of money in football. We will keep you posted with any updates regarding the situation.

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