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How the oil sheiks, the most powerful man in the wereldvoetbal to their pipes were dancing

Football Leaks

Against the rules in pumped oliestaat Qatar over the past years, hundreds of millions in Paris Saint-Germain. Through secret negotiations helped the current chairman of the Wereldvoetbalbond, Gianni Infantino, the French football club to escape a heavy punishment.

Gianni Infantino, the slippendrager of the sheik

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Football Leaks

Rhonald Blommestijn

Against the rules in pumped oliestaat Qatar over the past years, hundreds of millions in Paris Saint-Germain. Through secret negotiations helped the current chairman of the Wereldvoetbalbond, Gianni Infantino, the French football club to escape a heavy punishment.

Gianni Infantino, the slippendrager of the sheik

What is the role played Leterme?

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What is ‘Football Leaks’?

dS VIDEO – EIC. The Standard

The German weekly Der Spiegel was the beginning of 2018, tens of millions of documents in hands. They are from ‘John’, an anonymous whistleblower who abuses in the international football world to the jaw. It is the largest journalistic datalek ever.

The Standard has that data for months analysed, together with the media partners of the European Investigative Collaborations (EIC).

The research in the data, combined with other documents and interviews with key players, is on the basis of the stories that The Standard and the EIC network in the next few weeks to publish.

Operation ‘Clean Hands’ shook the Belgian football wake up. Football Leaks do that for international football.

Nikolas Vanhecke, Maxie Eckert, Mark Eeckhaut, Nico Tanghe In cooperation with EIC

The remains of a fabulous amount. When in the summer of 2017 became known that the French football club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) Brazilian attacker Neymar for 222 million euros had purchased from the Spanish of Barcelona, explained to the French people, the bar for ” most expensive transfer ever’ immediately very high. As if that wasn’t enough, came a few weeks later, the then 18-year-old Kylian Mbappé from AS Monaco to Paris, for all together about 175 million euro.

Everyone rubbed her eyes: how could it be that one club in such a short time so spent, for two players? The Spanish champions responded wildly, and called on the European football federation Uefa to open an investigation into the Financial Fairplay situation of PSG.

That Financial Fairplay rules set since 2009, a brake on the financial losses that clubs are allowed to collect, so that they remain stable. Financial Fairplay is also intended to prevent wealthy club owners – oil sheiks from the Middle East, oligarchs from Russia, billionaires from the USA – without restriction to ‘financial doping’. Thus as the Uefa prevent smaller clubs the battle for good players to always lose against the clubs of the new rich.

‘Financial doping is a spiral that is the football in the destruction deposit. If clubs break the rules, we will them heavy punishments”

Gianni Infantino in 2011

As secretary-general of the Uefa, he conducted yourself with the rules around Financial Fairplay.

Also financial doping via shortcuts, such as through businesses that have close links with the owner of a club, is thus addressed. Sponsors may only amount to pay in proportion to what they make back in advertising.

Because FC Malaga, Red Star Belgrade, Galatasaray and AC Milan, in the past, not to the rules, Uefa them as a punishment, temporarily out of the Europa League and the lucrative Champions League. At this moment the European football association a research to that crazy summer of 2017 at PSG. The chef of that research is former prime minister Yves Leterme. The investigation started in June first completed (see box on p. 4). PSG couldn’t be aangewreven, sounded it back then. But at the end of september, the Uefa the matter afresh.

Even if it would appear that PSG does not comply with the rules, it is not sure that there is a punishment follows. The club got over the past few years, a preferential treatment from Uefa. As negotiated PSG already in 2014 behind the scenes on a very favorable settlement with toplui of the Uefa. Among them: former secretary-general Gianni Infantino. Independent researchers of the Uefa which the goods according to the agreed-upon procedures wanted uitspitten and handling – the predecessors of Leterme and his team – were so by their own organisation sidelined.

Octagon, one of the most important sportmarketeers in the world, estimated the fair value of the sponsorship to 2,78 million euros. A 70th of what the Qatarezen effectively paid

This is clear from documents of the klokkenluidersplatform Football Leaks to the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel got hold of. The data were shared with The Standard and partners of European Investigative Collaborations (EIC).

The first time that PSG escaped a severe punishment from Uefa, such as the exclusion of the vetpotten of the Champions League, it was in the 2013-2014 season. When they suggested that PSG, just like the English club Manchester City, the Financial Fairplay rules had been violated. The violations of the two clubs proved much more serious than that for which clubs like, say, FC Malaga in the past, harsh penalties had been given.

Secret encounters

“This Financial Fairplay rules will be a serious problem. Regular lobbyacties will be necessary’

From a Confidential document of PSG

Infantino, a 48-year-old Swiss, is today the chairman of the wereldvoetbalbond Fifa. Until 2016, he was active in the Uefa. As secretary-general he conducted himself with the rules around Financial Fairplay. He wanted the penalty decisions. ‘Financial doping is a spiral that is the football in the destruction deposit”, said Infantino in 2011. “When clubs break the rules, we will give them the harshest punishment to impose.’

But indoors did Infantino is not what he said. From the Football Leaks documents show that he has associated with the department within Uefa that Financial Fairplay violations investigates and the penalties imposes.

That section is called ‘Club Financial Control Body’. They consists of a test room which, like the public prosecutor’s office in lawsuits, violations, detects and sanctions represents. On the other hand, there is the court room as a court shall decide on the sanctions.

PSG seems to assume that it will continue to wegraken with his constructions. This year it managed negotiate directly with the top of the Uefa

The key to the ‘Club Financial Control Body, ” is his independence. Just that basic principle cobble Infantino in 2014 to his boot.

He had secret meetings with the directors of the clubs in Paris and Manchester City, gave them confidential details from the research and suggested compromises for which he actually had not should imagine.

The Fifa was not in on the questions that were addressed to Infantino about talks between him and City or PSG. The French club is that they always exemplary, has been in regards 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.’

Absurd amount

In July 2013 began the test room of the Club Financial Control Body is to question the relationship between PSG and the tourism authority of Qatar, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). According to a sponsorship deal paid that state-owned company over a period of five years every year to 215 million euros to PSG.

It is an absurdly high amount. For comparison: in 2012, got Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich is around thirty million of their shirtsponsor. QTA paid to PSG more than six times as much without requiring that the kits of PSG or in the stadium, his name would grace. PSG had only to Qatar refer in his communication. Once a year the club also participate in a promohappening. Peanuts in exchange for a monstercontract.

The generosity of the Qatari tourist authority is not to be seen separately from the owner of Paris Saint-Germain: the state of Qatar. Who prepares the world championship of 2022 and would in the meantime present itself on the sporting field.

Since the acquisition of PSG looks the emir of Qatar, sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, the grand. In a confidential document of 2012, with the title ‘Strategic plan PSG 2012-2017 states that the club should become one of the five largest in the world.

The emirate forecast for the period 2012-2017 in the amount of 1.3 billion, intended only to buy players and their salaries to pay. PSG knew damn well that it went too far: ‘These rules will have a serious problem’, concludes the document. They also knew very well what she had to do: “Regular lobbyacties will be necessary’.


When the Uefa researchers in 2013, the conscious contract between PSG and the tourist office was, switched the football experts in the true value of it to determine. Octagon, one of the most important sportmarketeers in the world, estimated the fair market value on 2,78 million euros. A seventieth of what QTA actually paid.

In april 2014, the Uefa researchers in their final report on PSG. In a preliminary version of it, literally, that the contract of QTA a maximum of three million euros worth, and that it was intended the rules around Financial Fairplay to work.

Then came the Qatari lobbymachine in action. And in the wings began Gianni Infantino himself to interfere in the dossier.

According to the documents of Football Leaks suggested Infantino and Uefa president Michel Platini to reach an amicable settlement to PSG. The club demanded that the negotiations on the settlement outside the test room would be done. Platini and Infantino were agreed to.

Uefa went far away to PSG in a good mood. The football federation, which is actually the strict supervisor of Financial Fairplay should have been, was suddenly an ally of the club. ‘Help us to make the agreement(contract between the QTA and PSG, eds.) credible deal’, asked a representative of the Uefa on PSG during a meeting in the spring of 2014. It was the beginning of what looks like a cover up.


In the spring of 2014, there were several secret conversations between Infantino and Jean-Claude Blanc, the ceo of PSG. Infantino suggested various schemes. Piece by piece they were very conveniently for PSG. Still wanted the club, there all do not know.

When did Infantino is the ultimate concession. On april 19, 2014, during the finals of the cup of France between PSG and Olympique Lyon, met Jean-Claude Blanc and Infantino each other in the Stade de France, in the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis. Infantino suggested that PSG are looking would go to other sponsors from Qatar. So the club was able to the loss offset that was due to the contract with the tourist service has a lower value. As consideration early Infantino only that the settlement is sufficiently severe formulated would be and so would not appear as if Uefa had folded.

Kylian Mbappéen Neymar, “bargains” of 175 million and 222 million euros. afp

In the Stade de France, the case was settled. There remained still one formality: the ‘independent’ test room had the settlement to validate. There popped up a problem for PSG. Former principal investigator Brian Quinn found the agreement to be beneficial, refused to sign and took immediately dismissal. The test room chose hastily a another member to be the head: the Italian Umberto Lago. Who signed immediately.

According to the settlement had PSG 60 million euros to pay the penalty. There was for 2014 and 2015, also a salarisplafond for the players, the number of players was limited and there had to be a balance between the in – and outgoing transfers. But when learned, the Parisian club that is Manchester City, in his case a lower fine (20 million euros) had been given. The ceo of PSG sent a threatening mail to Infantino: “We deny that the Uefa the amount of our fine discloses and that we are worse than others to be treated.’

After a few phone calls it was eventually a new agreement with PSG. The fine would be published, but was reduced from 60 to 20 million euros.

It was far from the last time that the Uefa gave in to the whims of the Qatarezen. They did it with the help of Infantino the salarisplafond for the players already in 2014 instead of in 2015 to shake off.

Back to af

PSG seems to assume that it will continue to wegraken with their financial doping. After the costly transfers of 2017 took the Club Financial Control Body at Uefa the books again. It came back up that the sponsorship deal with the tourism authority of Qatar, and is significantly overvalued. Instead of the current 145 million euros, it is 5.5 million worth. Contracts with other Qatari sponsors are in the same bed, sick.

But PSG also managed this spring, again in direct negotiations with the top of the Uefa. In the meantime, that is no longer Platini and Infantino, but Victoriano Melero (secretary-general) and Aleksander Ceferin (chairman). There was an informal agreement between PSG and the Uefa negotiated. According to that agreement the club in 2018 for tens of millions of players to sell. The contracts with Qatari companies were all together revalued at 85 million euros, which is actually still too much.

It was again a favorable settlement for PSG. The financial doping could continue to exist. But in september, the judicial chamber of the Uefa something they had never done: they sent the whole file back out. The test room of Leterme to do her work again.

To Infantino will be the French at the reopened inquiry no help. He has the Uefa in February 2016 leave and has since been boss of the Fifa. There promised the Swiss to the stole of his predecessor Sepp Blatter to muck out and an end to shady deals behind closed doors.

This story was created with the cooperation of Der Spiegel and Mediapart.

What is the role played Leterme?

Ex-prime minister Yves Leterme, the president of the test room with the Uefa, in 2017 apparently proposed PSG sound to investigate. Indicating the Football Leaks documents.

When the reports on the finances of the club this spring be on the table, let Leterme according to our info to prove that his test room almost on the verge of the dossier to the court room. Who would then decide the case. There was according to him very little margin to the test room to convince him that that was not necessary. But on 13 June, the Uefa that PSG in the field of Financial Fairplay during the season 2016-2017 nothing aangewreven could be.

Leterme was not willing to ask of EIC to respond.

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