Six remarkable Football Leaks revelations: Neymar, Kante, Firmino

Quick Reads

Football Leaks continues to lift the lid on some of the most incredible stories in the game, with PSG, Chelsea and Liverpool players all included in revelations over the past two years.

The website, in conjunction with investigative work from a number of outlets around the world, most notably Der Spiegel, has published a number of shocking allegations relating to some of the biggest clubs in the world.

We’ve summed up five of the biggest and most remarkable stories Football Leaks have unearthed.

European Super League

One of the first revelations to come out of the latest batch of Football Leaks reports from Der Spiegel regarded the potential formation of a European Super League.

Documents revealed negotiations had taken place between 16 clubs about a new competition to replace the Champions League which would start in 2021. And entrants won’t be decided by, you know, actually being successful.

Chelsea,  Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, PSG and Milan would be the 11 “founding members” who could not be relegated for the first 20 years of the competition.

They would be joined by Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Marseille, Inter and Roma as “initial guests”.

Eventually maybe the results will be predetermined, too. At least we could finally make a bit of money out of betting. We could use a Netbet bonus and actually win something for once.

There were also suggestions a second league could be created under the main European Super League, with a date of November 2018 set for the 16 clubs to sign a “binding term sheet”.

Andreas Christensen

One of the most recent allegations comes via Danish newspaper Politiken, who report that Chelsea paid Andreas Christensen’s father Sten around £600,000 over a four-year period from 2012.

Andreas was 15 at the time, and it is suggested the fee was in order to guarantee the defender joined Chelsea.

Such an agreement would break Premier League rules, and so Chelsea disguised the payment by hiring Sten Christensen as a scout, a role he has seemingly never fulfilled. He is, however, goalkeeping coach at Danish club Brondby.

In later internal emails about contract negotiations, Chelsea refer to the payment as a “parental salary”. Both Chelsea and Sten Christensen have declined to comment.

Politiken suggest such schemes are common around the world, but are especially prevalent in England and can occur with players as young as 12.

Financial Fair Play

Der Spiegel have used documents published by Football Leaks to accuse Manchester City and PSG of trying to circumvent FFP regulations.

City’s owners are alleged to have had their owner Sheikh Mansour’s money pumped into the club via Abu Dhabi-based sponsors, while PSG’s owners QSI have injected €1.8billion into the French outfit since taking over the club in 2011, aided by former UEFA president Michel Platini and former UEFA general secretary, and current FIFA president, Gianni Infantino.

As noted by ESPN: ‘Former France president Nicolas Sarkozy was also reportedly involved, telling the now-Emir of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani in a 2010 meeting that Platini would be instructed to award Qatar the 2022 World Cup if the French capital club were bought and a sports television channel launched in France (beIN Sports).’

City were fined £49million in 2014 for breaching FFP, with PSG also receiving a similar punishment, but Der Spiegel suggest UEFA were unaware of some of the details, and the governing body have indicated they are prepared to re-open an investigation into the affairs.

However, Infantino effectively allowed City to negotiate their own punishment four years ago.

An email dated April 2014 allegedly shows a club official admitting he and Infantino had agreed to allow City and UEFA lawyers “to negotiate a settlement that is more than a warning and can be seen as effective/dissuasive but does not affect dramatically MCFC [Manchester City Football Club] business”.

Contract clauses

In yet more news which makes us really wish we were football players, the bonus clauses in PSG players’ contracts have been leaked.

With no fines system in Ligue 1, the French giants are paying their players to behave respectfully.

This includes giving Neymar €2.5million a year for not criticising manager’s choices and €375,000 a year for greeting fans before and after games.

Further nuggets from players’ contracts came out in a previous batch of leaks in 2016.

Former Manchester City defender Matija Nastasic can only wear Adidas trainers as part of his Schalke contract, which adds: “If the player proves to Schalke 04 that he can’t wear Adidas shoes for medical reasons, he is allowed to wear shoes of another brand. As soon as this proof is no longer given, the player will play and practise with Adidas shoes.”

And then there’s Roberto Firmino, who has a €98million exit clause which can be triggered two years ahead of the end of his contract…”IF the interested club is NOT Arsenal FC”.

Or how about Cristiano Ronaldo’s demands of his staff?

City cherry-picking African talent 

One story which has gone somewhat under the radar in England regards a legally-binding third-party player-ownership deal between Manchester City and Danish outfit FC Nordsjaelland.

The story was published by Politiken, who cite an agreement from 2016 in which Nordsjaelland’s British president Tom Vernon is alleged to have committed his club to giving up West African talents from their heralded Right to Dream Academy, based in Ghana.

Vernon told Politiken: “We are confident that we are in compliance with all relevant football regulations.”

N’Golo Kante

Honestly, as if we could bloody love Kante any more that we already did.


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