There UEFA he would have intentionally “covered up” some investigations on Paris Saint-Germain and its president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. The accusation comes from New York Timeswhich refers to the evening in which the number one of the Parisian club – together with the then Ds Leonardo – went to the locker room after the match between Real and PSG to challenge the work of the referee Makkelie, with an aggressive attitude and beyond the lawful .
An episode that led to the opening of a disciplinary investigation, of which UEFA has not given an account for several months. Only in June, at the end of the European football season, after the attention on the case had waned, did UEFA published a short note announcing the disqualification of Leonardo for a match, without however making any reference to Al- Khelaifi, who according to Makkelie’s report had behaved far worse.
Veterans of disciplinary issues within the organization were not surprised by what happened. Alex Phillipsa UEFA executive for nearly two decades, told a The Times that the timing of UEFA’s resolution appeared intentional. “They waited to find a quiet moment to bury the matter and hope that people had forgotten it“, he said.
“The so-called independent judicial bodies are actually anything but independent, instead they are now used as a power tool to guarantee specific results. We would like to tell the public that they are independent decisions when in reality they are not»Added Philips about the internal work at UEFA.
The Al-Khelaifi case, moreover, came at a particularly delicate moment for UEFA. The European Court of Justice will rule on the alleged monopoly role of the European Football Association. A decision that could seriously jeopardize its hegemony over the multibillion-dollar organization of the European football business.
Not just the Al-Khelaifi case. In 2018, PSG risked being banned from the UEFA Champions League for at least one season after violating Financial Fair Play regulations. But the Parisian club was spared the harshest punishment after the UEFA administration sided in favor of the French club against its own investigators.
Since then, relations between Al-Khelaifi and UEFA have only strengthened, also thanks to the deployment of the PSG president against the project for a European Super League. The manager decided to stay with Aleksander Ceferin and from there his position in the world of football became more and more influential. Al-Khelaifi has been appointed president of the ECA, a group of over 200 top clubs that boasts a joint venture with UEFA for the sale of Champions League rights and of which beIN Sports is one of the largest customers.
“There is a clear conflict of interest. No one with an economic interest in terms of relations with UEFA should be on its board“, he has declared Miguel Maduroformer chairman of the commission on governance, an internal body of FIFA wanted by the president Gianni Infantino in the wake of the scandals that engulfed the federation in 2015. According to his thesis, the actions of UEFA have created suspicions and the PSG “operates according to a different set of rules“.
Phillips, for his part, said he once tried to prevent Al Khelaifi’s elevation to the UEFA executive committee, but found little support among his peers. “You have a conflict of interest article in the statutes. You enter it, why don’t you apply it?“, he asked. President Ceferin glossed over even insisting that Al-Khelaifi, a Qatari who is a close confidant and occasional tennis partner of the Gulf country ruler, remained on his board despite a corruption case in Switzerland (since which was acquitted earlier this year).
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