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- There is a very real chance that football is running into financial trouble
- Incompetence or corruption? Why referees in England behave so differently from those in Germany.
By Tony Attwood
We do, of course know a fair amount about the Manchester City case which drags on and on and on, as seemingly every single point raised by the League in its file of accusations is being hotly contested.
For example, Give Me Sport has provided us with a breakdown of the information the Premier League has put out showing what exactly Manchester City FC is being charged with. Thus we now know that there are 54 charges of failure to provide accurate financial information from 2009/10 up to 2017/18.
But that is only the start for there are also 14 charges of failure to provide accurate reports for play and manager compensation over that period.
Even then we have hardly got going for there are five charges of failing to comply with Uefa regulations, seven charges of breaching the PL profitability and sustainability regulations and 26 charges of failing to co-operate with PL investigations.
And we might recall that last time Manchester City were hauled over the coals, they got off because Uefa (some would say deliberately, some would say incompetently) failed to put its appeal case in within the deadline – a failure that is well-noted (and considered inexcusable) throughout much of European football.
But this is not the only big ongoing enquiry. For recently “the premises of the General Directorate of Public Finances [in France] have been searched, amid suspicions of a tax favour granted to PSG during the star’s transfer from Barcelona in 2017,” according to reports in Le Matin.
The issue here seems to be whether a member of parliament had a number of conversations in which he/she tried to obtain “tax benefits” from the government for PSG during its transfer negotiations.
Now Paris Saint-Germain is primarily owned by the Qatari government-backed investment fund Qatar Sports Investments, which currently holds 87.5% of the shares. As this story broke searches were carried out at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance.
But there is also a suggestion (and hence an investigation) into the notion that Paris St Germain was granted favourable tax arrangements during the transfer of Neymar from Barcelona in 2017. That would of course be possible because of the close link between PSG and the state of Qatar, but would be completely illegal in footballing terms.
The notion that there was something very underhand indeed has been revealed by MediaPart and one only has to spend a few minutes reading what they have to say to see just how huge the accusations here are. A few of the headlines will give an indication…
Then there is the issue of whether “the former vice-president (a member of Emmanuel Macron’s party) of the National Assembly, Hugues Renson, tried to obtain from the government “tax advantages for PSG”
This was a particularly potent story since when Neymar was transferred to PSG it was announced by the Minister of Finance that this was good news for France since Neymar was going to pay tax in France on his massive salary. At that time the Minister then personally guaranteed that Neymar’s tax affairs would be closely analyzed by the ministry as would be the “financial arrangement of the transfer.”
Neymar was transferred in a deal worth 222 million euros and suspicion is growing in France that the proper amounts of tax were not paid in the country.
So yes, while Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea are all facing questions and penalties here, in France PSG are most certainly being invetigated – along with a number of rather prominent people.
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