UEFA‘s recent decision to close an investigation into the accounts of French champions Paris St Germain has effectively been reopened by the chairman of the committee that oversees the Financial Fair Play rules.
The probe into PSG’s finances between 2015-17 was closed last month by the chairman and chief investigator of the Club Financial Control Body’s (CFCB) investigatory chamber.
PSG were bought by Qatar Sports Investments, a Doha-based fund with close links to the Qatari royal family, in 2011 and since then have been generously sponsored by Qatari firms.
This revenue – coupled with the huge uplift in revenue that occurred when beIN Sport, a Qatari-company run by PSG’s president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, bought Ligue 1’s broadcast rights – has allowed the club to go on the type of spending spree UEFA’s FFP rules were meant to curtail.
That is why the decision to drop the investigation was greeted with some surprise, and it is understood some members of the investigatory team believe the club’s sponsors have been paying inflated sums to artificially boost income, which the club denies.
This split has now become public as the CFCB’s overall chairman, Jose Narciso da Cunha Rodrigues, has referred the decision to the body’s adjudicatory chamber.
In a statement, UEFA said: “In light of the recent decision of the Club Financial Control Body chief investigator to close the investigation into Paris Saint-Germain – which commenced on 1 September 2017 – the chairman of the CFCB has decided to send this decision for review by the adjudicatory chamber.”
A former general prosecutor in Portugal and judge at the European Union’s Court of Justice, Cunha Rodrigues has been in charge of UEFA’s financial watchdog since October 2012, while the CFCB’s chief investigor Yve Leterme is a former prime minister of Belgium.
The UEFA statement added this move to review the case does not prejudge it, which means PSG could simply be cleared again.
The basic premise of FFP is that clubs can only spend as much as they make and PSG have been under scrutiny since the Qataris took over – they were hit with a large fine in 2014 and forced to play with a reduced squad in Europe for a season.
This intensified last summer when they bought Brazilian superstar Neymar for a world-record £198million from Barcelona and then secured France international teenager Kylian Mbappe from Monaco.
The Mbappe deal was described as a season-long loan followed by £166million payment – a ruse many critics saw as a means to circumvent FFP spending limits – while the Neymar swoop provoked fury in Spain, with LaLiga president Javier Tebas suggesting PSG were “urinating in the swimming pool”.
Those two transfers, however, are not actually part of the closed UEFA investigation, as they will not show up in PSG’s accounts until this year, and it has been estimated that they will need to bring in at least £50million in player sales, as well as reducing the wage bill, to meet their next FFP limit.
The 44-year-old German has agreed to succeed Unai Emery, who will leave the Qatar-owned side after the final game of the French season this weekend.
“It is with much joy, pride and ambition that I am joining this big club,” said Tuchel in a statement released by PSG.
“I can’t wait to start working with all these great players who are all amongst the best in the world.
“Paris Saint-Germain has enormous potential and it is by far the most exciting proposition in football.”
According to French sports daily L’Equipe, Tuchel was recommended directly to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani by the Qatari consul in Germany.
At one point linked to Arsenal before Arsene Wenger announced he would be leaving the Premier League club, Tuchel will begin his new role in early July with the start of pre-season training.
It was an open secret that Tuchel had been lined up as the next coach of the ambitious club from the French capital.
Paris Saint-Germain are delighted to announce that Thomas Tuchel will be the new first-team coach next season !
The German tactician has signed a two year contract with the French champions 🔴🔵 pic.twitter.com/JoeU0jMqFC
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) May 14, 2018
They had been on the look-out for a replacement for Emery since being beaten 5-2 on aggregate by Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League in March.
That disappointment in Europe, following a humiliating loss against Barcelona at the same stage a year ago, meant there was no chance of Emery’s two-year contract being renewed at the end of this campaign.
Emery has nevertheless just overseen a clean sweep of the domestic honours in France this season, after winning the French Cup, League Cup and season-opening Champions Trophy in his first campaign.
Tuchel was a free agent after leaving Borussia Dortmund a year ago, despite leading the team to victory in last season’s German Cup.
“Thomas is one of the best and most competitive European coaches to have emerged over the last few seasons,” declared PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
“He abides by very strong principles of playing spectacular and clinical football that has always been the foundation of German football, especially on the international scene.
“His competitive spirit, his preference for attacking football and his strong character are in line with what we have always wanted for Paris Saint-Germain.”
Neymar has been linked with a return to La Liga as Real Madrid have been the rumoured destination.
Watch Al Khelaifi shut down those rumours in the video below, in which he says “Neymar is staying 2,000 per cent, he has not informed me of his intentions to leave”.