Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain open probe into racial profiling of young players

This week has not been a good one for PSG, as they and FIFA boss Gianni Infantino were accused of corruption in financial fair play probe. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018

Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain open probe into racial profiling of young players

  • Between 2013 and the spring of this year, PSG’s scouting department filled in evaluation forms on young players that included stating their ethnicity.
  • Report comes days after yet more FFP allegations levelled at Qatar-owed giants.

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain have opened a probe into claims that young players were subject to racial profiling during their recruitment process, a source close to the club has revealed.
“We have opened an internal investigation,” the source said, after the claims made by French investigative website Mediapart, who cited documents from the latest series of Football Leaks allegations.
According to Mediapart, between 2013 and the spring of this year, PSG’s scouting department filled in evaluation forms on young players that included stating their ethnicity. Their origin was to be described as French, North African, West Indian or African. Social profiling is illegal in France.
The source acknowledged the existence of these forms to AFP.
Mediapart, part of the European Investigative Collaborations consortium which has studied the Football Leaks documents, said the forms were used to evaluate potential young signings.
The controversy “blew up internally” in March 2014, said Mediapart, in relation to the case of a talented 13-year-old player called Yann Gboho, who caught the eye of scouts while he was playing for FC Rouen in the Normandy region of northern France.
A PSG scout who evaluated the teenager in November 2013 stated his origin as “West Indian.” The evaluation form has a box on ethnicity with a drop-down menu offering four choices: French, North African, West Indian and African, Mediapart said.
The investigative website quoted Serge Fournier, the PSG scout who evaluated Gboho, as saying “instead of French, it should have said white, especially as all the players we recommended were French.”
“PSG didn’t want us to recruit players born in Africa, because you are never sure of their date of birth,” he was quoted as saying.
The player in question — a French youth international who was born in the Ivory Coast — eventually signed for rival Ligue 1 club Rennes.
The allegations trigger memories of a scandal that erupted earlier this decade, after Mediapart exposed a discussion in 2010 on race quotas in France’s age-group teams.
According Mediapart, those at the top of French football believed there were “too many blacks and too many Arabs and not enough whites” in the game.


Wenger lauds ‘genius’ of Fenerbahce-bound Ozil

Updated 7 min 58 sec ago

Wenger lauds ‘genius’ of Fenerbahce-bound Ozil

  • The 32-year-old, who is the club’s highest earner, has not played since March 2020

LONDON: Arsene Wenger has hailed the “genius” of Mesut Ozil after the Arsenal outcast confirmed he was leaving the Premier League club to join Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

The former Arsenal boss signed the German playmaker in 2013 but the relationship has turned sour under current manager Mikel Arteta.

The 32-year-old, who is the club’s highest earner, on a reported weekly salary of £350,000 ($475,000), has not played since March 2020. But Wenger said the former Germany international, who won the World Cup in 2014, was a rare talent.

“Mesut is like if you imagine an orchestra in music,” the Frenchman told beIN Sports Turkey.

“He’s a guy who plays the ball at the right time. The timing of his pass is exceptional, but the creativity of his pass is as well.

“In every situation he confronts, he gives the right answer and that is genius.”

Ozil has claimed he is in good physical condition despite his lengthy period on the sidelines but Wenger said his former player would take a few games to build up his “competitive fitness.”

“If his basic fitness in training is good, it will only take him three or four games to be at his best,” said Wenger.

“The quality that he has is... vision in depth. He sees quickly, he decides quickly and he realizes quickly what he sees. That is a quality you don’t find too often in our game.”

Wenger said Ozil would strengthen Fenerbahce’s bid to win the Turkish league for the first time since 2013/14.

“I’m sure that he’s frustrated at not having played,” he said. “His hunger must be absolutely (enormous) to play football again.

“Mesut is a guy who needs a warm environment and I believe he will find that more than anywhere else in Turkey.”

Ozil, who is of Turkish origin, was a key member of Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning side but after what he labelled “racist” attacks following the holders’ first-round exit at the 2018 tournament, he ended his international career.

Fenerbahce, one of Istanbul’s three big clubs, are currently second in the Turkish Super Lig behind Besiktas.