From being on the brink of bankruptcy to investing more than USD 1.5 billion in reinforcements: PSG’s costly road to the Champions League final

Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been in charge of the institution since 2011
Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been in charge of the institution since 2011

He Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will play this Sunday the most important game in its history when facing the Bayern Munich in Lisboa by the end of the Champions Legaue, a contest that has not yet been able to win despite having invested hundreds of millions of dollars over the years to build a team capable of winning the trophy. Despite the fact that today the French team is a power, it must be remembered that, in just 50 years of history, it has gone through a roller coaster of situations that brought it to the brink of bankruptcy at one point, but that today it has on the cusp.

How is it that such a young institution managed to recover from several crises and is now one step away from paying off its only remaining debt.


The first to contribute money was the businessman Daniel Hechter, who in 1973 had the idea of ​​selling subscriptions “for life” in exchange for 10,000 francs. In addition, he was the one who designed the team’s jersey, with a vertical red stripe in the center that is still used to this day. But five years later, who had become president of the French Football Federation (FFF) had to leave his position at the head of the club when it was discovered that doubled ticket sales figures to alter PSG’s accounting.

Who then assumed the position of president was Francis Borelli. During his tenure, the Parisian cast began to win titles and in 13 years he added his first Ligue 1, but the administration was disastrous and for in the 1990s, it owed about 50 million francs.

For that reason, Canal + came to the rescue of PSG, not only buying it but also diverting a large part of television revenues into their coffers, a fact that quickly made it one of the richest clubs in Europe. By 1997 the company had become the main shareholder and less than 10 years later the only one contributing money.

But again the bad administrations left the accounts in the red and the Parisian institution practically in agony due to a monthly deficit greater than 30 million dollars, which led to the sale of PSG. Those who landed in the club were, mainly, the investment fund Colony Capital and the financial institution Morgan Stanley. By then the team was loitering in the middle of the table and the fans had lost interest, so one of the objectives was to bet on renovating the stadium, Parque de los Príncipes, and include there restaurants and shops that attract fans.

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By 2009, Colony Capital had become the owner of 95% of the shares of PSG and announced that, now financially healthy, the goal was to grow in football and turn the team into a giant in Europe. Thus, was that In 2011, to this end, the Qatar Investment Authority bought 70% of the shares.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi (Reuters)
Nasser Al-Khelaifi (Reuters)


The group that relies on Asian oil seized PSG quickly and placed Nasser Al-Khelaifi in front of the entity. In this “new testament”, the money was destined to the incorporation of reinforcements and thus they were acquired Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Luiz, Edinson Cavani, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé, Gianluigi Buffon y Dani Alves, among other stars. Along with them came the trophies: seven Ligue 1, five French Cups, six La Liga Cups and seven French Super Cups.

In total, around 1,300 million euros (almost USD 1,550 million) were invested so that PSG became a power and you will get dizzy from doing so many Olympic laps in your country. However, this has put him in the eye of a lengthy investigation by UEFA. Through her, the body that governs European football tried unsuccessfully to find out if the French club failed to comply with the financial Fair Play making injections of Qatari money appear on their balance sheets as contributions from sponsors. If this trap was discovered, the team could have been disqualified from the top continental competitions, face serious financial penalties and be banned from incorporating players for a certain number of seasons. But ultimately, this did not happen.

Beyond this flow of dollars that has flowed into the bank account of the French team, it has not yet managed to obtain its most desired championship: the Champions League. After several frustrations, such as the three consecutive eliminations in the round of 16, against Manchester United 2019, Real Madrid 2018 and Barcelona 2017, this seems to be her great opportunity.

For the first time, the Parisian team will play the grand final of the tournament, after having beaten RB Leipzig in the semifinals by 3 to 0. The match against Bayern Munich this Sunday arrives with Kilyan Mbappé recovered from his injury, Neymar without discomfort muscular and Ángel Di Maria on a superlative level.

It remains to be seen if PSG will achieve consecration in Lisbon and pay off the debt of millions, or if tomorrow it will suffer a new frustration.


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