Finally, Lionel Messi has signed with Paris Saint-Germain for two years. The Argentinian is the latest star to join the French club this summer after the signings of Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum or Achraf Hakimi, among others. These moves have generated questions about the Financial Fair Play and how PSG can afford these players.
It has been reported that the Argentinian will earn approximately $35 million net per season, a salary that keeps him, alongside his teammate Neymar and Juventus’ Cristiano Ronaldo, in the top three of highest paid soccer players, according to Forbes. Neymar reportedly earns 36,8 million euros per season.
With such figures, and only talking about two players, it’s safe to assume that the Parisian Club has many expenses. UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules do not permit a club to spend more than its incomes. So, how can PSG afford to have such expensive players?
How can PSG afford their new signings?
PSG spent 60 million euros in the transfer market on Inter Milan right-back Achraf Hakimi. But they were lucky as they signed several stars who were out of contract like Messi himself, Sergio Ramos (who reportedly earns from 10 to 15 million euros) Georgino Wijnaldum and Gianluigi Donnaruma. All without counting their salaries or Kylian Mbappé's (18 million euros, as reported).
According to AFP, their owners, Qatar Sports Investments, lead by their president Nasser Al-Khelaifi (who also owns beIN Media Group, QSi and DIGITURK), cover their losses. And that can pass the FFP for now because UEFA has softened the Fair Play rules for this season. That means clubs can register losses over the usual limit of 30 millions euros if they showed that they were caused by the pandemic. Also, the financial years 2020 and 2021 are assessed as one single period.
Also, L’Equipe has reported that the the DNCG, French football’s financial guard, had planned to implement a rule that the wage bill cannot exceed the 70% of clubs income (same as La Liga) but postponed those plans until the start of the 2023/24 season.
Basically, PSG have benefited from the circumstances. However, the PSG President is insistent that the club hasn't broken the FFP regulation. “Regarding the financial aspect, I will make it clear — we know the rules of FFP and we will always follow the regulations,” he said in Messi’s press conference.