The best football coach in Europe is at war with FC Barcelona – Politico

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ISTANBUL – Barcelona’s financial players must face a crackdown, according to the most powerful executive in European football.

In an exclusive interview with Politico, Qatari business magnate Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain football club, said that the European Sports Federation is set to investigate Barcelona, ​​after its controversial summer sale of commercial assets.

The debt-laden Catalan club made hundreds of millions of euros this summer by selling future TV rights and parts of its digital content arm to investment funds and a crypto company. The sale allowed Barcelona to spend large sums on the best new players, while also complying with the strict financial rules of Spanish football.

But critics – with Al-Khelaifi at the front of the line – have accused Barcelona of recklessly selling family silver, possibly breaching European football’s financial regulations and creating a dangerous precedent.

“Is this fair? No, this is not fair… Is it legal? I’m not sure,” Al-Khelaifi said of the sale of Barcelona’s assets, indicating that the regulators would investigate. “If they let them, others will do the same.” The European Union of the game of course has its own role [financial] systems. They will definitely look at everything.”

The statements represent an escalation in the ongoing dispute between Paris Saint-Germain and the Spanish football establishment, which considers its domestic league to be Threaten to file a complaint To the European Union over the state-backed ownership of Paris Saint-Germain, which is pumping out massive amounts of money.

Al-Khelaifi wields tremendous influence due to his multiple high-profile roles – as president of Paris Saint-Germain; President of the European Club Association. Chairman of the influential Qatar Broadcasting Corporation, beIN Media Group. And a member of the UEFA Executive Committee.

Speaking to European club chiefs on Friday, Al-Khelaifi had already indirectly criticized Barcelona by saying: “The new financial sustainability rules are a positive development. But we have to be careful. Dangerous levels of debt and magical equity deals are not a sustainable path.”

Barcelona has particularly angered the country’s CEO Sell 25 percent of the unprofitable digital content arm for 100 million euros for a company run by the founder of Mediapro, which two years ago led to the launch of French football crisis By default on payments for television rights.

Barcelona declined to comment. UEFA said: “All clubs participating in UEFA club competitions are monitored in accordance with the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Sustainability Rules. Compliance decisions are made by the Club Financial Control Authority (CFCB).”

Think outside the box

Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club, said that the European Football Association is due to investigate Barcelona after its controversial sale of commercial assets in the summer | Sebastien Buzon/AFP via Getty Images

Al-Khelaifi made his remarks in an interview at the lavish Ciragan Palace Kempinski Hotel in Istanbul, where the Egyptian Chefs Association met last week for its general assembly. He expanded on a range of topics including the future of football in Europe, accusations that his multiple roles in the game represented a conflict of interest, and the prospect of acquiring Super League 2.0.

As part of an effort to grow the sport of football, the Egyptian Chefs Association invited the CEO of Formula 1 to speak at the General Assembly. Al-Khelaifi was excited about the prospect of football looking for new ideas from motorsports, a sport that has gone viral thanks to its partnership with Netflix.

“We have the best, biggest, most popular sport in the world and we need to think outside the box,” he said. For example, European football could capitalize on its most popular matches to create a “multi-day vacation destination that people love to go to”, complete with music and conferences as part of a broader entertainment product.

He added that cities would need to pay for it, “as they do in Formula 1 today”, generating windfall financial gains for clubs.

“We must also be careful what we change in football, because we need to respect our fans,” he warned. Sports fans were the main opponents of the controversy Premier League A proposal for clubs to compete in the UEFA Champions League, which soon collapsed.

Conflict Complaints

As with other top ECA officials Politico spoke to, Al-Khelaifi was dismissive of the Premier League’s return in a new guise – regardless of whether it wins the European Court of Justice. A case against UEFA Claiming an illegal monopoly – due to the massive public backlash the Rebel Union suffered upon its launch in April 2021.

“I am really confident that no one will allow the Premier League championship,” Al-Khelaifi said. “We need to think of everyone, not just ourselves. The Premier League has been all about itself,” he said, adding that he would “never join” in such a project.

Al-Khelaifi’s critics accusing him Contrasted with his various senior roles, most importantly through his position as president of beIN Media Group, which spends millions for television rights to show French football competitions and UEFA.

Pressed on this, Al-Khelaifi replied: “When there is a problem, they need me, I am there to help. Nobody sees any conflict.” He insisted that there had not been a single instance in which he “benefited or took advantage of” his position.

Al-Khelaifi noted that in the joint marketing project between the Egyptian Chefs Association and the European Football Association, external agencies were appointed to monitor the sale of television broadcasting rights worldwide. “Nasser is not the one who enters the market and sells rights,” he said. But we urge them to increase the price. My interest is to secure the maximum for my club and us [ECA] clubs. If anything, it hurts beIN when the ECA raises rights costs.”

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