Sport Soccer

Monday 11 December 2017

Uefa warns PSG 'tell us how you're going to pay for Neymar' as Brazilian informs Barcelona he's leaving

Barcelona's Neymar
Barcelona's Neymar

Sam Wallace

Uefa will demand to know how Paris Saint-Germain intend to finance their world-record £198 million transfer deal for Barcelona’s Brazilian superstar Neymar, with European football’s governing body reiterating its stance that financial fair play rules will be enforced.

On a dramatic day, Barcelona announced on Wednesday that Neymar, 25, had told them of his intention to leave and that in response had said he could only do so on payment of the £198 million (€222m) buy-out clause included in the new contract he signed last year.

It is anticipated that the Qatari-owned PSG will pay it in full although the structure of the deal, expected to be €450m in total, will have to pass Uefa’s financial fair play (FFP) rules.

Neymar is expected to earn around €55m a year before tax meaning that the total deal, spread over the course of a five-year contract, could cost €90m annually - almost a quarter of PSG’s current annual revenue of €389.6m.

In a statement to Telegraph Sport, Uefa reiterated its stance that FFP would be enforced, saying the organisation is “exceptionally serious” that clubs are not permitted to make losses in excess of €30 million over three years.

When the deal goes through it will more than double the current world-record transfer fee, the £89m paid by Manchester United to Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer, and it will make Neymar the world’s best-paid player.

His buy-out clause was intended as insurance that he would not leave Barcelona after overtures from PSG before he signed his last deal, although the Spanish club never anticipated that anyone would meet it.

The turning of the tables on Barca, ranked second in the world for turnover last season in the Deloitte Money League, has been met with anger in Spain where the president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, accused PSG of state-backed “financial doping”.

He said to Spanish newspaper AS that there would be a formal La Liga complaint to Uefa and the European Union about “the teams that receive economic investment from countries that gift players to their fans at the cost of taking them from other clubs.”

The deal marks a change in the financial dominance of Spain’s two leading clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona, who, previous to PSG’s proposed Neymar deal, have signed the biggest names in world football from all over the world. It also has political implications for Qatar, isolated by sanctions imposed by its Middle East neighbours and eager to establish its credibility in football before it hosts the 2022 World Cup finals.

Barcelona are expected to make a further offer for Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho although Jurgen Klopp has said once again that the club will not entertain offers at any level for the Brazilian. Barcelona may yet try to hit back by signing Monaco’s 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe, a target for Real Madrid this summer. 

Uefa said in a statement that “all clubs must abide by the rules of FFP or face the consequences”. It added: “Uefa is exceptionally serious about the enforcement of FFP and keen that its success in stabilising the finances of European football continues.”

In response to a question about the Neymar deal, a Uefa spokesperson said that there had been no indication from PSG as to how they intended to make the transfer FFP-compliant.

Any deal will be concluded after the July 17 FFP deadline for this season and therefore will be included in financial disclosures for club licensing for 2018-19 Uefa competitions. In 2014, Uefa fined PSG €20m for breaching FFP regulations and maintains that the measures work, with losses across clubs in Europe’s top divisions falling from €1.7 billion in 2011 to €300m in 2015, and further reductions predicted.

Uefa’s FFP chief, Andrea Traverso, head of club licensing, has repeated in recent weeks that the organisation will pursue the FFP measures brought in by former president Michel Platini. While Fifa are responsible for regulating football’s transfer market, Uefa is also confident that there is no loophole that can be exploited by PSG owner’s, Qatari Sports Investments, to circumvent rules.

There have been reports that the Qatari state might pay Neymar the buy-out fee which he would lodge personally to achieve free agency, thus ensuring that any transfer fee was not paid by PSG. There are suggestions he may also be paid separately as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup finals. Article 72 of the FFP regulations is intended to mitigate against any attempts by clubs to circumvent legislation.

When he told Barcelona formally of his intention to leave, Neymar was accompanied by his father and advisor Neymar senior, who will earn an eight-figure commission on the deal. The as-yet unpaid commission owed to him by Barcelona on his son’s October contact, believed to be around €23m, had been deposited with a lawyer and would be paid, the club said, on resolution of the player’s future.

Neymar was given what Barcelona described as “temporary permission” to miss training and was bid farewell via Instagram by his former team-mate, and the club’s greatest player, Lionel Messi, who wished him “the best of luck in this new stage of your life”.

ney (2).jpg
A boy wearing the jersey of Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar walks past a new poster being put up outside the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona on August 2, 2017. The previous poster featured Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar.

Elsewhere in Barcelona the response has been more hostile, with posters accusing Neymar of being a “traitor” appearing around the city.

Uefa says it has a “dedicated and growing” department responsible for FFP which is administered by the Club Financial Control Body whose chief investigator is Yves Leterme, the former Belgian Prime Minister and deputy general secretary of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport