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PSG confronted by Dortmund over £80m Neymar sale

PSG, Dortmund
© Ace Football

The big-money sale has helped PSG avoid a breach of the Financial Fair Play rules.

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) faced heavy criticism during the recent UEFA meeting in Berlin over their £80 million sale of Neymar to Saudi Premier League outfit Al-Hilal.

Borussia Dortmund’s chief financial officer, Thomas Tress, suggested that the move provided PSG with an unfair advantage in the transfer market while also questioning the effectiveness of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. This unexpected critique shocked attendees at the European Club Association general assembly.

According to the Athletic, Tress pointed out that Al-Hilal’s financial prowess, fueled by state sovereign wealth fund PIF investments, had distorted the transfer market. PSG, owned by Qatar Sports Investment with ties to the Qatari state, seemed to have circumvented FFP restrictions. This allowed them to aggressively acquire talent from European rivals.

In response to the controversy, Dortmund’s CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke, promptly apologized to PSG’s president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who also chairs the ECA. The PSG president preferred a private discussion rather than a public spectacle. Both clubs, though declining to comment on the matter, generally maintain good relations.

The Saudi Pro League has witnessed significant spending, surpassing £750 million, following PIF’s acquisition of clubs like Al Ahli, Al Ittihad, Al Hilal, and Al Nassr. European clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool, and Wolverhampton Wanderers, have reaped benefits from this influx, cashing in on players who were often out of favour or nearing the end of their contracts.

PSG and Dortmund will face off in the first matchday of the new Champions League campaign on September 19.