LaLiga president Javier Tebas has accused Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City of “cheating” and called for the Ligue 1 giants to be banned from the Champions League.
PSG and City both found their financial practices under the microscope earlier this month following a series of articles by Der Spiegel and MediaPart, drawing on documents purportedly obtained by whistleblowers Football Leaks that claimed each club had broken rules by attempting to circumvent UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) laws.
Premier League champions City declined to comment on the allegations, adding that “the attempt to damage the club’s reputation is organised and clear”.
PSG maintained that they have “always acted in absolute compliance with the laws and regulations issued by sports institutions”.
Both clubs have not responded to a request from Omnisport for further comment with regards to the latest observations from Tebas, who dismissed their protestations and urged UEFA to take action.
“I said two years ago that PSG and Manchester City were cheating so it wasn’t a surprise to me at all,” he told Goal at Soccerex in Miami.
“It’s very important that UEFA does something real about it. It’s something that has unbalanced world football and the structure of the game. You have to punish those teams.”
Tebas feels a season-long ban from the Champions League for PSG would be a welcome show of strength from UEFA.
“Forcing them to sit out a year of the Champions League would send a message that these rules must be taken seriously,” he said.
“It isn’t about punishing PSG specifically, but enforcing rules we expect everyone to follow.”
City and PSG reached settlements with the UEFA Club Financial Control Body in May 2014 after they breached FFP regulations.
Along with €60million fines and spending caps for the 2014-15 season, the clubs could only name 21 players in their Champions League squads that campaign. City had two thirds of their fine refunded in April 2017.
One of the Der Spiegel revelations was that then-UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino worked with the clubs to agree favourable terms.
Infantino is now president of FIFA and has defended his conduct at the time.
“Our goal at UEFA was always to keep the clubs with us, not to kick them out, so you negotiate and seek solutions. That was my job as general secretary,” he told Swiss publication Blick.
“The fact is, in the history of FFP, 30 violations have been detected. With all but one club there were agreements – agreements and negotiations are expressly allowed.”
Speaking two weeks ago amid Der Spiegel’s series of articles, City manager Pep Guardiola told reporters he expected his club to be punished if they were found to have violated UEFA rules.
“I trust a lot the club and I know the people [on the City board],” he said. “If there’s something wrong, we’ll be punished. FIFA or UEFA have to say if we were wrong. If we were wrong, we accept it.”
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