Paris Saint-Germain have written to British rap artist M.I.A. after she wore and doctored one of their shirts for a music video depicting the refugee crisis.
In her video for the single Borders, the rapper, real name Mathangi Arulpragasam, depicts refugees on their journey across Europe.
The 40-year-old is seen wearing a white PSG shirt that has the logo of the club’s Dubai-based airline sponsor doctored to read ‘Fly Pirates’ rather than ‘Fly Emirates’.
PSG – owned by the Qatar Investment Authority since 2011 – wrote to the artist and referenced a €1 million donation to charity Secours populaire and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) as part of the relief effort.
The letter read: “We had the unpleasant surprise to find that the singer, in this video clip, appears twice wearing the official jersey of our team, bearing the very easily recognisable logo Paris Saint-Germain and our sponsor Emirates whose slogan was diverted from “Fly Emirates” to “Fly Pirates”.
“The singer also published a picture of her song’s lyrics on her Tumblr account where she denounces, as in her video clip, the treatment and living conditions of refugees who crossed the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe.
“More than being surprised, we simply do not understand why we are associated through our logo and the official jersey of our team’s players, to such denunciation.
“This association is all the more hard to understand that nothing in our activities and in our daily initiatives suggests we have anything to do with the problems highlighted by M.I.A.
“In light of the foregoing, we consider that the use of our brand and image in a video clip denouncing the treatment of refugees is a source of discredit for our club and distorts its public communication policy.
“Our high media exposure combined with the intense promotion of M.I.A.’s videoclip resulted in numerous press articles which distorted in the public’s mind our image to your benefit.”
Qatar – criticised in recent years for its human rights record and the alleged ill-treatment of workers employed in construction programs ahead of the 2022 World Cup – was among the Gulf states criticised during the refugee crisis for failing to open its borders.