Football

PSG president: We have nothing to hide

French club president insists they have not flouted Uefa's FFP rules in Neymar and Mbappe deals

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said yesterday that the club are not panicking as European football's governing body Uefa investigates over alleged violations of its Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.

Al-Khelaifi, speaking at the official unveiling of French striker Kylian Mbappe, one of the players whose signing has sparked the probe, said PSG had respected all of Uefa's rules.

"We are very confident in our position and in our recruitment," Al-Khelaif said at a press conference at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris.

"Uefa can do as it wishes, but we have done everything in a transparent way.

"We haven't hidden anything and we don't need to hide anything."

PSG, owned by Qatar sovereign wealth fund Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), broke the world transfer record to pay 222 million euros (S$358m) for Brazilian superstar Neymar last month before signing Mbappe on loan with an option to buy the 18-year-old from Monaco for up to 180m euros in the second largest deal in history.

The massive outlay sparked complaints from clubs in Spain and Germany that they were competing with a state-backed entity.

Javier Tebas, the president of Spain's La Liga, said yesterday that PSG were "laughing at the system".

Uefa announced last Friday that it was looking into whether PSG had broken the FFP rules that are designed to prevent clubs spending more than they earn.

Al-Khelaifi said: "We respect all of Fifa and Uefa's rules. It's not our problem if other clubs aren't happy.

"My concern is that we achieve our aims."

In a reference to the complicated deal that brought Mbappe to PSG from Monaco, the striker thanked his lawyers "who have given themselves a bit of a headache recently, but for a good cause".

Mbappe said that at the end of last season, he had decided to stay with Monaco, "but certain events happened which made me change my mind".

"I discussed in depth with my family and I took the decision to join PSG," said the teenager who comes from the Paris suburbs.

He insisted that he had not fallen out with the Monaco ownership and praised the club's vice-president Vadim Vasilyev, but told reporters: "There were some things that happened that I will talk about, you'll hear soon."

Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho said that Manchester United made huge savings in the transfer market by getting their business done before Neymar's world-record move to PSG triggered a global price spike.

United took their spending to over £130 million (S$228.4m) after paying a British record fee of £75m for Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and deals for Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic and Benfica defender Victor Lindelof.

Mourinho believed that if his club had waited to land their top targets, they would have paid significantly increased fees as a result.

Praising United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward for predicting the market surge, Mourinho told The Times: "I think we were very clever. We thought that something could happen that could change the market forever.

"Normally, the last part of the market is less expensive but, this season, after Neymar, everything changed and changed for the worse in terms of prices.

"I think Lukaku on Aug 31 would have been £150m. Matic would have been £60m or £70m. Neymar changed everything.

"If the biggest transfer in history had still been (Paul) Pogba, I think (Liverpool forward) Philippe Coutinho would now be in Barcelona at £101m. People look to the £200 million figure now." Mourinho's focus for now is to mount a strong title challenge and his revamped team look well-equipped for the job after storming to the top of the table with three successive wins.

"I have said three (summer) transfer windows is what I need to have the team I think can bring Manchester United to the top of English football," Mourinho said.

"I still think we need that, but I'm not going to wait for the third transfer window to try to reach it." - AFP

FootballParis Saint-Germainneymar