FIFA World Cup 2018: As PSG stars make headlines, club struggles to avoid financial punishment

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New Delhi | Updated: July 3, 2018 10:54:26 AM

Ever since Oryx Qatar Sports Investments bought the club in 2011, it has been going after big names (likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel Di Maria, Thiago Silva bought for whopping amount) but trouble began when PSG bought Neymar from Barcelona for 222 million euros (about $260 million).

psg, paris saint german, psg ffp, neymar, kylian mbappe, cavani, edison cavani, fifa world cup 2018, fifa world cup, sports newsNeymar, Mbappe and Cavani celebrating after scoring. (Source: Reuters)

The last three days of the FIFA World Cup 2018 have seen three strikers grow in reputation with inspiring performances for their respective nations – Kylian Mbappé of France lit up the opening day of the knockout phase with a remarkable brace against Argentina before Edison Cavani of Uruguay found the net twice to send Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal home on the same day. A day later, Neymar helped Brazil to a 2-0 win against Mexico.

All three strikers form a deadly front line for Paris Saint-Germain which comes at a great cost. These performances have come at a time when their club is facing great scrutiny along with UEFA — European soccer’s governing body — over the club’s lavish spending in the last few years.

Ever since Oryx Qatar Sports Investments bought the club in 2011, it has been going after big names (likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel Di Maria, Thiago Silva bought for whopping amount) but trouble began when PSG bought Neymar from Barcelona for 222 million euros (about $260 million), and then committed to paying the second-highest fee for Mbappé, the French teenager who helped his country complete its 4-3 elimination of Argentina on Saturday.

The club has been under investigation by UEFA for months for a violation of UEFA’s strict cost-control regulations known broadly as its Financial Fair Play rules. However, it was cleared by UEFA’s investigators even as they said they would continue to scrutinize the club’s most recent financial year.

The decision came in contrast to UEFA’s recent treatment of AC Milan – the Italian club which was banned from European competition for one year after a similar investigation. PSG which has won five of its last six matches shares its owner with BeIN Sports, the Qatari-backed sports network that is UEFA’s biggest television-rights buyer.

Clearly aware of the consequences, PSG have sold as many as nine players in last one year – some of them who were regular starters in the recent times. The list includes Blaise Matuidi (23m euros), Jean-Kevin Augustin (16m euros), Serge Aurier (25m euros), Youssouf Sabaly (4m euros), Lucas Moura (28m euros), Javier Pastore (24m euros), Odsonne Edouard (10m euros), Yuri Berchiche (23m euros) and Nanitamo Ikone (5m euros).

In total, the team sold about 140 million euros’ worth of players before the end of the year’s financial cycle.

There were reports that PSG might be forced to sell Neymar as well with Real Madrid offering a world record transfer fee of 310 million euros (USD 360 million). However, the Spanish club denied these reports. Madrid says the report by Spanish public broadcaster TVE is “absolutely untrue,” adding the team “made no offer of any kind to PSG or the player.”

Despite all its trouble, the club managed to hold on to its most important players in Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani, all impressing at the World Cup. Thomas Tuchel can count on them for his new project.

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