PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi reveals how he rejected a European Super League offer that would have earned him £400m

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Paris Saint Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said he rejected an offer to be a member of the failed European Super League which could have earned him €400 million.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi who has been in charge of PSG since 2011 said when he led PSG to play the second leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 against Real Madrid in Spain, Madrid president Florentino Perez still talked to him about the failed Super League.

Recall that in April 2021, the story broke that some big clubs in Europe have founded a super league which would be for just the top clubs in the continent.

During the announcement, the proposed league had 12 confirmed members which included Real Madrid, Juventus, FC Barcelona, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Tottenham Hotspur.

The announcement generated widespread protests by fans, especially in the United Kingdom. The pressure from the protesters and football governing bodies in the world especially FIFA and UEFA forced nine of the 12 clubs to withdraw from the plan.

Since then, Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Juventus have continued to push for the revival of the plan because of a reported contract they have with sponsors of the proposed league.

The three clubs have gone as far as taking the football bodies to court to prevent the football bodies from taking any action against members of the Super League and the proposed league.

It is almost a year since the report about the Super League went viral. Yet, the dream behind the proposed league has refused to die down as members of the proposed league await the final verdict of the European Court of Justice.

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But in an interview with the BBC, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi stressed that there is no chance for the European Super League (ESL) to be established.

Al-Khelaifi noted that it was not fair that there is an ongoing war in Ukraine and what some clubs are still concerned about is the ESL.

“With the ESL or non ESL – I hate to say Super League – you are talking about three clubs. They know there is no chance,” Nasser Al-Khelaifi said.

“People are dying in Ukraine and have nowhere to sleep – and we are fighting about Super League?

“The problem with ESL clubs is that they don’t have stability. They don’t have a long-term financial vision. They keep talking about their legal contract [with ESL].

“What they forget is football is a social contract, it’s not a legal contract – they’re waving around a piece of paper.

“Florentino Perez spoke to me at the Champions League game and said ‘we have to get a point where we can speak to you. I was really tough with him.

“I said I was happy to talk but if he was going to do stuff behind my back, I am not interested.”

Nasser Al-Khelaifi also wants PSG to play against the big clubs more regularly

Nasser Al-Khelaifi also wants PSG to play against the big clubs more regularly
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

One of the plans of the European Super League was to enable the big clubs to play against themselves more regularly.

In the proposed arrangement, there would not be room for smaller clubs or less funded clubs to play against the heavyweights across Europe.

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When the ESL was formed in April 2021, the founders said they did not invite PSG which is the most funded club in France. But in an interview with BBC, the president of PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, confirmed that he and PSG were invited to participate in the proposed league.

Al-Khelaifi revealed that he was offered €400 million to join the proposed league but rejected it because he knew that less funded clubs would be sidelined if the proposed league is established. He however noted that he desires to play against the big clubs more regularly.

“I want to play those matches – the big matches, of course, I do”, Nasser Al-Khelaifi said. “I know what the audience wants.

“But we cannot say ‘you are a small club, you are out’. It has to be an open system, under the governing body, where there is respect for everybody.

“I could have taken the [ESL] cheque for €400m. They invited me. Then when I said no, they said they didn’t invite me – that sums them up.

“If I just thought about myself I could have done it. Especially during Covid. But what about the ecosystem and the fans and the values you represent?”

Al-Khelaifi and his group bought PSG for €70m and turned it into a multi-billion euros club

PSG signed seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi from FC Barcelona in August 2021.
PSG signed seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi from FC Barcelona in August 2021.

Paris Saint Germain is just 51-year-old but has become one of the most valuable clubs in the world due to the massive investment Nasser Al-Khelaifi and his group have poured into the club.

Critics have always questioned the business model of Al-Khelaifi because of his love for expensive players and players with outrageous wage bills like Neymar, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and many others.

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In reaction to those who have been criticizing his business model, the 48-year-old Qatari billionaire revealed that he and his group bought PSG for just €70 million and they have grown it to the extent that they have been receiving offers in billions.

“Imagine there was no investment over the past few years. Football would have collapsed, I promise you,” Al-Khelaifi said.

“We are an investment fund. We bought the club for 70m euros. We have since received offers in the multi-billions.

“This is the brand we built as a real investment – across men’s and women’s teams. People criticize it because it is sovereign wealth.

“What about other forms of ownership – is the private equity takeover of sport about social good? What about clubs leveraged to the sky by private individuals – is that good? Barcelona is a fan-owned club with €1.5bn debt – does that work?

“Our investment in PSG also doesn’t just help one club. Imagine PSG were not in the French League. Where would the league find an investment fund to invest €1.5bn, which goes to the small clubs to invest?

“When you look at the full picture of what we are doing, it has raised the level.”

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