Date published: Friday 9th November 2018 2:16
The French Football Federation (FFF) has asked its independent ethics body to investigate allegations that scouts at Paris St Germain tried to limit the number of black players at their academy.
On Thursday, French website Mediapart reported that some of the French champions’ scouts were recording the ‘origins’ of young players they were assessing on an electronic scouting form.
According to the report, there were four options to describe a player on a drop-down menu – French, north African, black African or West Indian – and it was reported that this was done because PSG’s former chief scout in France, Marc Westerloppe, told colleagues “there is a problem with the direction of this club…there are too many West Indians and Africans in Paris”.
Racial profiling is illegal in France but Mediapart claims scouts at the club were using this system between 2013 and spring of this year.
A spokesman for PSG told Press Association Sport on Thursday that the club opened an investigation into the allegations as soon as they were made aware of them by Mediapart three weeks ago.
“We are talking about one recruiting unit with a manager who put that in place from 2013 until 2017, without our knowledge,” he said, before adding “all these people have left” the club.
But if this was an attempt to keep the investigation in-house it has failed, as the FFF has issued a statement on its website on Friday to say it has asked its National Council of Ethics to examine the case.
If the council decides the club is guilty of racist recruitment practices, the matter will be sent to the Professional Football League’s (LFP) disciplinary committee to decide on a punishment.
“The FFF, with the LFP, believes football carries and defends the values ??of diversity and universality, and fights against all forms of discrimination,” the FFF statement said.
The federation’s quick response to the PSG allegations is perhaps related to its own racism scandal in 2011, when Mediapart revealed an apparent plan by the governing body to limit the number of black and north African players in its youth system.
Claims of racism within PSG’s youth system have come during a difficult week for the Qatari-owned club, as they are also facing fresh allegations of cheating European football’s Financial Fair Play rules by artificially inflating sponsorship deals.
The club have strongly denied these claims, which were reported by German magazine Der Spiegel, but they are already taking UEFA to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the European governing body’s decision to reopen an earlier investigation into their finances.