Messi’s signing and financial fair play: Why was PSG able to buy La Pulga?

The signing of Lionel Messi at PSG was the product of a sum of exceptions in the rules of the French Professional Football League (LFP) inversely proportional to the reasons why the Argentine star could not sign the renewal with Barcelona of Spain.

The contract for 40 million euros net per year with the captain of the Argentine National Team added to the budget red of the Parisian club, which calculates between 250 and 300 million euros your planned debts for the 2021-2022 season.

What influenced then so that the arrival of Messi was possible? That the League of France did what the League of Spain did not want to do: take into account the declines in the income of the clubs due to the pandemic and allow them to borrow beyond their possibilities of immediate recovery.

The impossibility of the best player in the world continuing at Barça had to do with the tightening of “fair play” in the accounts: to avoid further deepening the deficit of its clubs, the Spanish League decided to establish that the spending on salaries of the teams should not exceed 70 percent of their income.

However, this regulation, also adopted by the National Management Control Directorate (DNCG) of the LPF, will not enter into force in France for another two years. With which, at least until then, each club I could place bets and buy at ease with their expectations.

To this is added that UEFA announced that it will not examine each season in detail but rather an average of the seasons from 2019 to 2022, with which PSG finished aligning the planets, at least for this season.

Al-Khelaifi: “If we sign with Messi it is because we have the capacity to do so”

The president of Paris Saint-Germain, the Qatari Nasser Al-Khelaifi, he assured that the club complies with the financial fair play “from the first moment.”

“I’ll make it clear: we know the rules of financial ‘fair-play’ and we will always follow the rules”, affirmed in the press conference that shared with Messi.

“If we signed with Messi it is because we have the ability to sign Messi, if not, we would not have done it,” he added and even joked about the situation: “I hope Leo doesn’t ask for more salary”he said, laughing.

Messi’s arrival at Paris Saint-Germain deserved the applause of the president of the French LFP, Vincent Labrune, who publicly thanked Al-Khelaifi. This makes it clear that a review on the issue of financial fair-play is not expected.

PSG calculations

Only in the previous season, 2019-2020, the club chaired by Al-Khelaifi had 556 million of expenses and 559 million of income. A difference marked by the cut in income from the pandemic.

After the 400 million spent on Neymar and Kylian Mbappé in the summer of 2017, PSG saved the compensation for transfers and estimates that balance Messi’s salary spending with product sales, sponsorships and international visibility that Messi will attract, the best salary of PSG ahead of Neymar (35 million net).

One of the hypotheses is that, in order not to increase the red, the club gives free rein to one of its most expensive players. The most talked about was Mbappé.

However, Al-Khelaifi referred to it: “Kylian is Parisian, very competitive. He said he wanted a competitive team, now there is no more competitive team. He has no excuse to do anything else,” he said.

A complaint against the signing of Messi

This context of waivers and exemptions aroused the ire of some. “The French League decided to postpone the sanctions for those who do not comply with these rules to 2023, that is, after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Until then, PSG can do whatever they want, while Barça has to abide by these regulations“, he reproached Juan Branco, lawyer for a French Lyon subsidiary.

The legal representative filed a complaint against the signing of Messi and He also requested that the European Commission (EC) act ex officio alleging a “distortion” of the domestic market due to the alleged violation of PSG’s “financial fair-play”.


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