PSG shocked by Uefa probe into high-priced transfer deals

French striker Kylian Mbappe (left) and Brazilian forward Neymar.
French striker Kylian Mbappe (left) and Brazilian forward Neymar. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS • French club Paris Saint- Germain (PSG) are stunned by the decision by European football governing body Uefa to open a probe into their high-priced transfer activities last month.

They insisted on Friday that they did not fall foul of Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, despite shelling out a world-record transfer fee of €222 million (S$357 million) for Brazilian superstar Neymar, and then engineering a loan move for young French striker Kylian Mbappe with an option to buy him for €180 million next season.

"The club is surprised by such a decision and is very confident in its ability to demonstrate it will perfectly respect the Financial Fair Play rules in accordance with the financial year 2017-18," PSG said in a statement.

FFP rules ban clubs from spending more than their generated revenue, a policy introduced in 2010 to prevent cash-rich owners from trying to buy success and distorting the transfer market.

PSG are owned by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments, an investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund.

Mbappe's move to PSG on Thursday has left many wondering how the club can avoid sanctions from Uefa, considering the investment already made on Neymar.

"The investigation will focus on the compliance of the club with the break-even requirement, particularly in light of their recent transfer activity," Uefa said in a statement.

According to media reports, the only clause required to be met to make PSG's option to buy Mbappe an obligatory one is for the club to stay in the top flight this season, which they are very likely to do so.

Uefa will have to consider whether Mbappe's transfer fee is factored into PSG's accounts for the current season, or whether it will carry over to the following campaign.

From 2013 to 2015, European football clubs could post a net total loss of only €45 million. This was further reduced to €30 million for the next three years.

Non-compliance with the rules can result in disciplinary measures, ranging from a warning to the deduction of points and even exclusion from competitions.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 03, 2017, with the headline 'PSG shocked by Uefa probe into high-priced transfer deals'. Print Edition | Subscribe