Sports, Football

PSG’s signing of Messi rekindles debate on UEFA FFP rules

Published : 13 Aug 2021 09:50 PM

Reuters, Paris

Paris St Germain's signing of Lionel Messi has re-ignited a debate over the effectiveness of UEFA's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, which were designed to curb excessive spending but have been relaxed in the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The rules were introduced in 2009 to prevent clubs spending beyond their means and distorting the market, requiring teams to break even and keep wages and transfer fees in line with income.

PSG and Manchester City were among clubs to fall foul of the rules, although both teams avoided excessive punishment after winning appeals through the Court of Arbitration for Sport. 

A softening of rules to help clubs cope with the financial shock of the pandemic, however, means neither PSG nor City - who last week broke the Premier League transfer record to buy Jack Grealish for 100 million pounds ($138 million) - have had to worry about new investigations into their spending.

"We know the rules of Financial Fair Play and we will always follow the regulations," said PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi at Messi's presentation on Wednesday.

"Before we do anything, we check with our commercial, financial and legal people. We have the capacity to sign him. If we sign Leo, it's because we can, otherwise we would not have done it."

PSG's revenue for 2019-20 was 541 million euros, according to a report from KPMG, while their wage bill stood at 405 million euros.