Paris Saint-Germain chief says £570m deal justified

PARIS Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insists the football club’s contentious £570m deal with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is “justified” and should not fall foul of financial fair play (FFP) rules.

Experts behind European governing body Uefa’s FFP regulations, which stipulate clubs’ losses for the period 2011-13 must not exceed €45 (£37m) if they want to play in the Champions League, say the deal “stretches credibility”.

Teams are not permitted to boost their revenues artificially through contracts with related companies under FFP. QTA is controlled by the Qatari state, which also ultimately owns the French club.

PSG stand to receive €150m (£122m) per season, rising to €200m (£163m) by the end of the four-year contract, despite the deal not giving QTA shirt sponsorship or stadium naming rights – their most obviously valuable branding assets.

“The contract with QTA is justified because PSG’s influence in the whole region, not only in Qatar, has been important,” said Al-Khelaifi, speaking about the record-breaking agreement for the first time.

“We have been building an international brand. This deal is a strong symbol. Qatar have benefited a lot from their investments in PSG.”

PSG have spent more than £200m net since summer 2011, when Qatar Sports Investments took over the French giants, who had fallen behind Lyon, Marseille and other rivals over the previous decade.

The deal with QTA is backdated to the start of the season, meaning it could help them balance their books and meet FFP requirements – unless Uefa deem it to be a breach of rules regarding related companies.

David Lampitt, the chairman of Supporters Direct who sat on an expert panel that helped fine-tune Uefa’s FFP rules, told City A.M. last month that PSG’s deal would pose a major test to the governing body.

“It looks like a pretty astounding deal that certainly stretches credibility,” Lampitt said. “Whether it undermines FFP or not rests with Uefa and how they deal with it.”