Gianni Infantino is today the most powerful man in football. When he was at the European football body, Uefa worked, he helped Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City penalties for fraud to evade. Clubs risk exclusion from the Champions League, but Infantino intervened.
The hundreds of millions that billionaires behind clubs like Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), or Manchester City in their team pumps, speak to the imagination. Thanks to the oliegeld from Qatar can PSG toptransfers such as that of vedettes as Neymar (€222 million), or Mbappé (175 million) to pay. Since the City is in the hands of a sheik from Abu Dhabi, wins again English league titles.
Since 2009, there are European rules to prevent the rich owners of their football team volpompen with money and financial doping administration. The European football federation Uefa wants to prevent smaller clubs struggle to good players will always lose against the clubs of the new rich. The Swiss Gianni Infantino (48), today the president of Fifa, introduced the Financial Fairplay rules when he was still secretary-general of Uefa worked. Teams that break the rules, may be excluded from the European championships. So threaten them the vetpotten of the Champions League to miss. This happened, for example, FC Malaga and AC Milan.
At PSG and City it never came so far, just by the actions of the Infantino. He had secret meetings with the bosses of the clubs in Paris and Manchester, gave them confidential details from the Financial Fairplay studies, and suggested compromises for which he had not should imagine.
This is clear from documents of the klokkenluidersplatform Football Leaks to the German weekly Der Spiegel got hold of. The data were shared with The Standard and partners of the journalistic network European Investigative Collaborations (EIC).
Inflated sponsorship deal
Within the Uefa is an independent authority that is Financial Fairplay-files examine. That department is separate from the board where Infantino was part. She stated in 2013 that PSG rules violated via a sponsorship deal with the Qatari tourist board. The state-owned company put out an annual 215 million euro in the team for five years. The tourist office early, there’s hardly anything in the place. A bizarre way of working for a sponsor. Both tourist service as PSG are owned by Qatar.
Experts estimate the actual value of the sponsorship contract to at most three million, one seventieth of what the tourist paid. The result was that, according to the Financial Fairplay rules, a hole in the accounts of PSG sat. The hole was so big that the research department in 2014 considered to PSG heavy penalties. Other clubs were already for less temporarily from the Champions League.
But then began Gianni Infantino is in the wings to blend into the dossier. Thus crossed he the work of the Uefa department who, in complete independence, must ensure the rules, which he nota bene itself has created.
Infantino suggested a number of times to reach an amicable settlement to PSG. Settlements were each very beneficial for the club. But for PSG, they went not far enough. In april 2014 did Infantino the ultimate encore: PSG should start looking for other sponsors from Qatar to the hole in his accounts to fill. In return, they would once 60 million euro fine to pay to Uefa.
Ultimately, they paid even less. After PSG learned that Manchester City for a (to their standards) even lower amount had escaped a severe punishment, it gave the French the same as City: twenty million euros. In those negotiations was Infantino still involved.
In the same bed is sick
Also in the investigation of Financial Fairplay-offences by Manchester City mixed Infantino in the case, is evident from the Football Leaks. Outside the Uefa researchers, he met with the director general of City. He emailed with the president of the club, a confidant of the ruling family in Abu Dhabi, to reassure about the outcome of the case.
City was in the same bed, sick as a PSG: contracts with sponsors that are to close were closer to the owners of the club, were seriously pumped up. By the hands of Infantino they paid a settlement of 20 million euro.
City refused to comment on the ‘documents out of their context are extracted and are seemingly stolen for the club. ‘The attempt to the reputation of the club to inflict damage is clear, ” find City.
PSG will find that it is always exemplary and has acted when it came to Financial Fairplay.
Uefa defends itself by saying that the Financial Fairplay rules are relatively new. “In the first big records was” groping in the dark for both Uefa and the clubs. We sat on the unexplored terrain. Any teething problems have now been eliminated.’
Fifa did not ask about the talks between Infantino and City or PSG.
This article was created with the cooperation of Der Spiegel and Mediapart.
For the European clubs, the Champions League is not big enough. They hold the Uefa in a stranglehold with a secret project for a Super League, a private elitecompetitie. Read tomorrow the whole file, and other Football Leaks-revelations in the newspaper and online.