Uefa restrictions threaten PSG's hopes for European domination

Fiscal constraints may affect the club's hopes of making an impact in the Champions League

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 10:26pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 05 August, 2014, 10:26pm


Paris Saint-Germain threaten to again run away with the Ligue 1 title, but punishments from Uefa in relation to Financial Fair Play rules could prove a thorn in the side as they begin their pursuit of greater acclaim this week.

PSG strolled to a second successive championship last season, and with nearest rivals Monaco losing Colombian World Cup star James Rodriguez to Real Madrid, there appear few on-field obstacles to the capital side retaining their title.

However, the financial constraints imposed on the Qatari-bankrolled club by European football's governing body are another matter.

It is important for an attacker to play in a position that is natural for him
Edinson Cavani

PSG, along with Premier League champions Manchester City, were in May slapped with a fine of €60 million (HK$624 million) for breaching FFP regulations - accruing losses in excess of the €45 million limit over the past two seasons.

The French champions, in addition, agreed not to increase the club's wage bill for the next two campaigns and to "significantly limit spending" in the transfer market, while curbing losses to no more than €30 million next year.

Club president Nasser al-Khelaifi bemoaned the sanctions, saying they would represent a "tremendous handicap", particularly in PSG's quest for continental success.

But he defiantly proclaimed that nothing would derail PSG's five-year plan, a blueprint laid out by Qatar Sports Investments following its takeover in June 2011 targeting a Champions League title by 2016.

He added: "To be clear, the players I want, I'll have them."

True to his word Khelaifi and PSG soon splashed out a reported €50 million, a world record fee for a defender, to sign Chelsea's David Luiz.

And they then appeared to devise a way to circumvent the restrictions in place with the season-long loan signing of Ivory Coast defender Serge Aurier from Toulouse - a deal that includes an option for PSG to eventually make the move permanent.

It is reported that a similar arrangement could also pave the way for Argentine winger Angel Di Maria to arrive in Paris from Real Madrid, initially on loan.

Whether such a deal is feasible remains to be seen with PSG still seemingly needing to offload players - Alex, Jeremy Menez and Christophe Jallet have already left - to adhere to the wage restrictions imposed by the FFP rules.

Nevertheless, coach Laurent Blanc, who in May signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until 2016, can be confident that his squad have sufficient quality to dominate at home.

They gave a hint of what could come when they brushed aside Guingamp 2-0 in the season-opening Champions Trophy in Beijing last weekend after beating Hong Kong champions Kitchee 6-2 in a friendly last Tuesday.

Sweden international Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored both goals in that game - and a hat-trick against Kitchee - and this will be an important season for the outstanding player in France in the past two years.

The Swede will turn 33 in October and may view this as his last realistic chance to win the Champions League, the trophy that he and PSG desire more than anything else.

But his importance at Parc des Princes also presents a problem, which Blanc has not yet been able to solve - how to get the best out of Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani in the same starting line-up?

The 27-year-old Uruguayan was the marquee signing of last summer, brought in from Napoli for a Ligue 1 record €64 million.

He scored 16 league goals in his debut season, but his campaign was hindered by injury and he was unhappy at being forced to play out of position on the wing because of the need to accommodate Ibrahimovic through the middle.

Cavani said last week that he would be staying put despite suggestions he wanted to leave.

But he added: "It is important for an attacker to play in a position that is natural for him. Everyone knows what my position is and there is no point talking about it again."

If Blanc can solve the Cavani conundrum, then PSG may finally manage to get beyond the quarter-finals in the Champions League despite the limitations placed on them by Uefa.

Agence France-Presse