PSG – A Capital Dominance in French Football?

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With a club record 9-0 over FC Troyes, on 13 March 2016 Paris Saint Germain won the Ligue 1 Title with 8 games to go. The emphatic manner of this victory will all but send a message to the other teams in Ligue 1 that a legacy of pure footballing dominance is being created. The money that Nasser Al-Khelaifi has pushed into the club however also proves the point that in today’s world of football, money is a major factor in a team’s success.

In 2011, Qatar Sports Investments became the major shareholder of the club, purchasing 70% of the shares. This instantly made the current French Champions the richest club in France and one of the richest in the world. Prior to the 2011/12 season, PSG were not really considered a dominant force in the league. With their only possible marquee player being Nene, there was not a lot of allure integrated into Les Parisiens.

However as of the investment into the club, a message was beginning to spread with the appointment of Leonardo Araujo as their Sporting Director – they meant business. More key players such as Javier Pastore and Blaise Matuidi decided to join their project. The word ‘project’ became a rather patented term in PSG’s transfer ideology, with the likes of Lucas Moura snubbing Manchester United to join said ‘project’.

The prominence of business in football does tend to leave a very sour taste in the mouths of football fans around the world. Many feel that passion should supercede any funding a club receives, and sometimes that is enough to win a league title – for example Montpellier and possibly Leicester – two massive underdogs, one won the league against all odds and one is on the verge of winning the Barclays Premier League, possible the closest thing football has to a stock exchange.

Over the next few seasons, the project began to produce an impressive portfolio. With world class players such as Thiago Silva, Edinson Cavani, Angel di Maria and Zlatan Ibrahimovic opting to sign in big money deals. It was then that PSG’s finances were truly thrust into the spotlight, as they won 3 Ligue 1 titles on the bounce making it four as of today’s huge win. Sometimes however, marquee signings to not always dictate pure dominance in a league. Manchester City is arguably a case of this, they have the allure, and they had the money for a while before they yielded any notable success. Eventually their successes became more consistent, winning two premier league titles in three seasons. It can be argued that there are major similarities between the two clubs, but not to the same extent. The opposite case can also be argued using the likes of Malaga and Queens Park Rangers having a lot of money pumped into the club, only to end in failure. Malaga never achieved anything of not, while QPR ended up getting relegated and had to sell a significant amount of players who were possibly more interested in the salary than the club.

With PSG’s dominance growing, there is a fear that a monopoly is developing and no-one will be able to catch up with the club. There will now always be a major element of risk if someone was to invest in another club in the league, as is it doesn’t pay off, it will cost that club a lot of money, or it will succeed and re-cement Ligue 1’s standing as a ‘top 5’ league. However at this moment in time, these could be worrying times for the credibility of Ligue 1 which could determine their European representation in the UEFA Champion’s League and the Europa League. This in turn decides how much money gets pumped into the league. There are arguably two possible scenarios that could take place in the foreseeable future; either money is invested into another French club, giving PSG some form of competition, or Les Parisiens will truely establish a Capital Dominance in French Football.

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