Leonardo hits back at Tuchel and says PSG have a ‘huge team’

Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian forward Neymar plays the ball during Friday’s match against Angers in Paris. (AFP)
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Updated 04 October 2020

Leonardo hits back at Tuchel and says PSG have a ‘huge team’

  • The disagreement promises three tense days before the transfer window closes on Monday evening

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain had no difficulties seeing off Angers in the opening game of the Ligue 1 weekend, but remarks by sporting director Leonardo after the 6-1 victory exposed smoldering problems within the club.

After the game on Friday night, in which Neymar, who scored twice, and Kylian Mbappe, who struck once, showed that the club’s stars can deliver, Leonardo spoke to journalists at the Parc des Princes and responded sharply to coach Thomas Tuchel’s criticism the day before of the club’s transfer activity.

Leonardo said that neither he nor the club “appreciated” Tuchel’s assertion that the PSG squad had been weakened since they reached the Champions League final in August.

“If someone is not happy, if he decides to stay, he must respect either the sports policy or the internal rules,” Leonardo said.

“You have to understand the moment we are all living through, these are very serious situations. Not understanding this situation, we didn’t like it. Now we’re going to address it internally.”

Tuchel complained on Thursday that the club had not done enough ahead of what promises to be an unusually demanding and compressed season. Leonardo responded that the problems created by the coronavirus extended beyond the playing field.

“Everybody has lost millions, it’s weird to talk about it. Nobody is buying, except in England, which is a world apart,” said Leonardo adding that the health crisis had cost PSG almost 100 million euros.

It was the first time that Leonardo has publicly criticized the coach, who he inherited when he took over in July 2019.

PSG won every domestic trophy available in France last season before losing narrowly to Bayern Munich in August’s Champions League final in Lisbon.

However, since the end of last season their captain Thiago Silva, all-time top scorer Edinson Cavani, right-back Thomas Meunier, striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and defensive starlet Tanguy Kouassi have left.

Apart from making Mauro Icardi’s loan move from Inter Milan into a permanent transfer, the only new arrivals are right-back Alessandro Florenzi, on loan from Roma, and third-choice goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier.

Tuchel said he wanted new signings.

“If we stay like this we can’t speak about having the same objectives,” the German said.

“Perhaps we can do it but we can’t ask for the same things from such a reduced squad when we will have to fight with teams like Manchester City, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid, who have all been very strong in the transfer market.

“In a season like this, with players who will be playing a lot for their national teams, with the coronavirus, without a pre-season, with a schedule like we have, I am worried that we will pay the price in October, November, December and January.”

Leonardo said that Tuchel had to be prepared to work with the talent he had.

“I also didn’t like him saying that this team is weak. We’re talking about a huge team,” the Brazilian said.

“It’s not a question of the transfer window, but of form. To stay at this club, you have to be happy, with the desire to suffer for the club, the spirit of sacrifice, even if you’re going through a tough moment. If you can sign players, fine. If not, we’ll keep going. That’s the spirit we’re looking for.”

“We’ll try to be creative. I don’t know how it’s going to end. A lot of things can happen, like nothing. We are living in such a difficult time. This is not the time to buy.”

The disagreement promises three tense days before the transfer window closes on Monday evening.


Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn

Updated 04 December 2020

Postponed Tokyo Olympics to cost extra $2.4bn

  • The extra costs come as officials work to build enthusiasm for the first Games postponed in peacetime,
  • Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay

TOKYO: The coronavirus-delayed Tokyo Olympics will cost at least an extra $2.4 billion, organizers said Friday, with the unprecedented postponement and a raft of pandemic health measures ballooning an already outsized budget.
The extra costs come as officials work to build enthusiasm for the first Games postponed in peacetime, insisting the massive event can go ahead next year even if the pandemic is not under control.
But more spending, on top of the previous budget of about $13 billion, could further harden public opinion in Japan, where polls this year showed a majority of people think the Games should be postponed again or canceled together.
“Whether it’s seen as too much or that we have done well to contain the costs, I think it depends on how you look at it,” Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto told reporters.
“We have done all we can to earn the public’s understanding,” he added.
Tokyo 2020 said an additional $1.5 billion would be needed for operational costs related to the delay, with another $900 million in spending on coronavirus countermeasures.
The dollar figures are calculated at an exchange rate of 107 yen, and the total is around $2.56 billion at today’s rate. The costs look set to rise further, with Tokyo 2020 saying it would also release an additional $250 million in “contingency” funds.

The new spending swells a budget that was set last year at around $13 billion, and will add to disquiet about the cost of the Games after an audit report last year argued the national government was spending significantly more than originally planned.
The extra costs will be split between Tokyo, the organizing committee and the national government. The International Olympic Committee will not be chipping in, but has agreed to waive its sponsor royalty fee for the first time, organizers said.
The unprecedented decision to delay the Games has thrown up a plethora of extra costs, from rebooking venues and transport to retaining the huge organizing committee staff.
And with organizers committed to hosting the Games even if the pandemic remains a threat, extensive safety measures will be needed.
Tokyo 2020 this week released a 54-page plan they said would make it possible to hold the Games, including restrictions on athletes touching and fans cheering, and an infection control center in the Olympic Village.
Organizers have tried to scale back elements of the Games, offering fewer free tickets, scrapping athlete welcome ceremonies and making savings on mascots, banners and meals, but so far they have cut just $280 million in spending.
And on Thursday, they said 18 percent of Olympic tickets sold in Japan will be refunded, with domestic fans demanding their money back on about 810,000 of the 4.45 million tickets sold in the country.


Organizers hope to now resell those tickets, and demand for seats at the Games was high before the pandemic.
But enthusiasm has since waned, with a poll in July revealing that just one in four people wanted to see the event held in 2021, and most backing either further delay or cancelation.
Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori said the spending plan was carefully considered and he hoped people would accept it.
“If you have a drink, you could say your glass is half-full, or half empty. It depends on how you look at it,” he told reporters.
“There’s a rationale behind this plan. I hope the Japanese people will understand it.”
Tokyo 2020’s final price tag has been hotly disputed, with an audit report last year estimating the national government spent nearly 10 times its original budget between 2013-2018.
Organizers countered that the estimate included items not directly related to the Games.