Paris Saint-Germain, the Qatari-backed French team that recently signed David Beckham, made more money from miscellaneous sales than from its soccer income.
PSG has spent more money on players than any other team since being acquired by the Qatar Investment Authority in 2011 and will have to meet new financial control regulations set by European soccer’s governing body, UEFA.
The club’s net loss during the 2011-12 season was kept down to 5.5 million euros ($7.2 million) because of 125.4 million of income from “other products,” according to figures released by French soccer’s licensing authority, the DNCG. That income is more than the team made from ticket sales, television rights and sponsorships put together. They accounted for just 97 million euros.
PSG, which is chasing its first French championship since 1994, qualified for the quarterfinals of the Champions League this week. Clubs that fail to meet UEFA’s financial rules face being banned from that competition from 2014, though lesser sanctions are also possible. Team spokesman Yann Guerin didn’t reply to an e-mail seeking comment.
Le Parisian newspaper in December reported that the team has an agreement worth between 150 million and 200 million euros per season with the Qatar Tourism Authority, and that it could be back dated to when the new owners took control.
A group led by a former Belgian prime minister has been charged with analyzing the accounts of teams wanting to play in UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League competitions. Clubs will have to prove agreements from related parties, like PSG’s agreement with Qatar Tourism, mirror their true market value.
“Paris would have to show quite a lot of evidence what value sponsors get from such a massive investment,” Daniel Geey, a lawyer at London-based Field Fisher Waterhouse who specializes in sport, said in an interview. “It will have to be assessed to see if it’s fair value. That becomes tricky if there aren’t any comparable.”
UEFA’s rules allow teams to have a maximum loss of 5 million euros, or as much as 45 million euros as long as the deficit is covered by an equity contribution, over two years through 2013. The assessment period will be increased to three years for future seasons.
The governing body, calculating from fiscal results from 2009, 2010 and 2011, found that 14 teams playing in European club competitions this season had losses over the 45 million-euro limit and another 32 clubs reported cumulative losses of between 5 million euros and 45 million euros.
Under the Qataris, PSG has spent more than $350 million in the transfer market buying players including Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Argentines Javier Pastore and Ezequiel Lavezzi and intends to continue spending.
“It’s necessary to become one of the great European clubs,” PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi told France’s L’Equipe newspaper in January. “Other clubs have invested for 20 years. We have been there for a year and a half and now we must stop pouring money? It would be unfair.”