Nasser Al-Khelaifi

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi took a swipe at Barcelona for their use of economic levers this summer, as he lauded UEFA’s decision to renew Financial Fair Play (FFP).

Acting as chairman of the European Club Association, which held its ordinary Assembly in Istanbul on Friday, Al-Khelaifi heaped praise on the new FFP format during his keynote speech.

Although PSG have somewhat flouted the fabric of FFP since its introduction by luring superstars with extortionate transfer fees and contracts, the Qatari businessman fears that financial sustainability is at risk and must be dealt with.

‘The new financial sustainability rules are a positive development. The rules control costs and expenses,’ Al-Khelaifi said.

‘They encourage investment and new investors. They will help to ensure the sustainability of football in the future.’

Concerned by risks of ‘injecting capital in a magical way’, Al-Khelaifi continued by indirectly targeting Barcelona, who used economic levers such as selling television rights this summer to boost funds and register new signings.

He added: ‘We have to be careful with debt levels because injecting capital in a magical way is not a sustainable way forward.

‘We have to think long term, not short term.

‘The ECA will continue to build positive relationships with all stakeholders: FIFA, UEFA and other confederations, the leagues, the national associations and the fans.

‘Everyone within European football should do more to benefit the whole game.’

LaLiga chief Javier Tebas later took to social media to challenge Al-Khelaifi’s comments.

‘There is no magic,’ Tebas urged on Twitter.

‘Barcelona have sold part of their assets to cover their losses, at PSG on the other hand you “turn on the gas”.

‘For a sustainable world of football, the first thing is to pay what is owed, isn’t it?’

Al-Khelaifi also took the opportunity to reinforce the importance of UEFA’s competitions, in particular the Champions League, by aiming another dig at reigning champions Real Madrid, who knocked PSG out in dramatic fashion last season.

The 48-year-old found it bizarre that Real Madrid, who spearheaded plans to erect the European Super League, competed in and celebrated winning the Champions League last campaign.

‘It’s strange that they (Real Madrid) also celebrate in the UEFA club competitions because they know it’s the best club competition in the world,’ he admitted.

‘It’s odd that you go against an existing fantastic club competition and then you participate, celebrate and enjoy winning the trophy.

‘I found that very strange, to be honest. But we don’t want to waste our time with that, we want to continue.’


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