La Liga have officially complained to UEFA over Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, claiming the English and French champions are in “continuing breach” of Financial Fair Play rules.
The resounding intervention of the Spanish top flight and its president, Javier Tebas, continues a growing civil war within European football, which exists beyond the dividing lines created by the European Super League.
La Liga said it believes the money earned by the two “state clubs”, owned by entities linked to the Gulf states of Abu Dhabi and Qatar respectively, “artificially inflates the market, with ‘money not generated by football itself’.
“La Liga understands that the irregular financing of these clubs is done either through direct injections of money or through sponsorship and other contracts that do not correspond to market conditions and do not make economic sense. “, reads the press release.
He also revealed that La Liga has engaged legal representation in Switzerland, home of UEFA, to pursue action against PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi over alleged conflicts of interest.
The row erupted when PSG beat Real Madrid to the signing of Kylian Mbappé in the summer, renewing the French forward’s contract for a three-year contract. La Liga immediately complained to UEFA about the deal, claiming it was not possible under FFP rules, which PSG deny.
Neither City nor PSG would comment on the latest claims, but both clubs are known to deny wrongdoing and hold a dismissive view of La Liga and its own funding arrangements. Barcelona, whose president Joan Laporta called for tougher rules on public ownership of football clubs on Tuesday, recently reported a €500m hole in their finances but reached a €55m deal euros with City for Spaniard Ferran Torres in January.
The individual complaint against Khelaifi will further escalate tensions within UEFA, where he and Tebas are members of the executive committee. La Liga said it was “looking into different representation options due to potential conflicts of interest for Nasser al-Khelaifi arising from his various roles at PSG, UEFA, European Club Association. [ECA] and BeIN Sports”.
Khelaifi took over as ECA chairman after the European Super League project collapsed last year. While Barcelona, Madrid and City were members of the breakaway league, PSG chose not to join the project. This put the France team on the same side as La Liga, who were vocal opponents. BeIn Sports owns the rights to a number of European football competitions, including Ligue 1 in the French domestic market. PSG insist that Khelaifi makes no executive decisions on behalf of the broadcaster and that potential conflicts of interest are systematically reviewed by his lawyers.
PSG and City have already had UEFA’s FFP investigations quashed on appeal. PSG were cleared of the breaches in 2019, and a subsequent attempt to reopen the investigation was dismissed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. In July 2020, Cas overturned a two-year Champions League ban imposed on City by UEFA.