(Reuters) – Spanish top flight LaLiga has filed a complaint with the European Commission against Paris St Germain’s “spending commissions”, alleging the Qatari-backed French club are distorting markets through subsidies from the Gulf state.
The practices have allowed PSG, owned by Qatar Sports Investments since 2011, to sign top players and coaches “well above its potential in a normal market situation”, LaLiga alleges in the complaint filed on Saturday.
The league said in a statement that “PSG has received foreign subsidies from the State of Qatar, which has allowed it to improve its competitive position, thus generating significant distortions in several national and EU markets”.
A commission regulation on foreign subsidies that came into force last month gives it “the power to investigate financial contributions granted by non-EU countries to companies engaging in an economic activity in the EU and redress, if needed, their distortive effects”.
“PSG obtains resources on non-market terms which distort several closely related markets,” LaLiga said. “It is also able to secure sponsorship income which does not correspond to market values.
“This enables them to boost their sporting performance, as well as affecting the ability of rival clubs to recruit.
“Therefore, LaLiga trusts that the European Commission, thanks to this new regulatory tool, will take the necessary measures to eliminate market distortions such as those described above, which seriously damage the sporting ecosystem.”
Last year, LaLiga filed a complaint with the European soccer governing body UEFA against PSG and Manchester City, alleging they violated financial fair-play regulations.
PSG have splashed out on several expensive signings in recent years, including paying a world record 222 million euros ($243 million) for Brazil forward Neymar in 2017 and 180 million euros for striker Kylian Mbappe in 2018.
The French champions also renewed Mbappe’s contract last year when he was widely tipped to join Real Madrid.
Mbappe is in a contract standoff with PSG. Relations between the him and PSG have been tense since the French forward said in June he would not renew his deal, which expires at the end of the 2023-24 season.
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(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad; Editing by William Mallard)