Paris Saint-Germain accused of racially profiling players

Ruben Hill
November 9, 2018

Paris Saint-Germain have admitted that for the past five years, the club has used racial profiling as part of its player recruitment process, just hours after a new report that it was part of an effort to limit the number of black players signed by the club, as reported by the New York Times.

A report by Mediapart and television programme "Envoye Special" alleged, following an investigation on the back of recently released 'Football Leaks' documents, that PSG's scouts have been required to document the ethnicity of potential academy signings.

Scouts for the Ligue 1 champions were allegedly asked, for every player observed, to choose one of four options on an electronic drop-down menu of French, North African, black African or West Indian.

PSG have said that between 2013 and 2018, their scouting department filled out evaluation forms on some young players, including stating ethnicity. "These forms were introduced at the sole personal initiative of the head of this department".

The online website claims that 17-year-old Rennes attacking midfielder Yann Gboho, who plays for France's under-18 team, was disregarded by PSG for its academy when he was 13 because he was black, and "that the club's management in fact chose to cover up those implicated in the scandal". He told Mediapart that PSG did not want scouts to recruit "players born in Africa, because one is never certain about their dates of birth". We need more diversity. "There are too many West Indians and Africans in Paris", he is reported to have said.

Mediapart also obtained documents of a meeting held in 2014 during which Marc Westerloppe, who was then in charge of PSG players' recruiting in France except for the Paris area, said the club should find a better "balance".

According to Mediapart, director general Jean-Claude Blanc was informed of Westerloppe's comments in June and summoned him to a meeting before clearing him, while director of human resources Celine Peltier alleged that former sporting director Olivier Letang "made identical remarks" to Westerloppe.

"On being made aware of this at the start of October 2018, Paris Saint-Germain launched an internal investigation to understand how such practices could have existed and to decide on the necessary measures to be taken".

They added that recruitment is decided only on "skills and behaviour" and that the forms went against PSG's "spirit and values". As there was no concrete evidence to corroborate these statements, the club was unable to implement the appropriate disciplinary measures.

Supporters of PSG have reacted angrily to the Mediapart report on social media, pointing out that PSG's youth teams are predominately black, but the case does have parallels with another Mediapart story in 2011, when it revealed an apparent plan by the French Football Federation to limit the number of black and North African players in its youth system.

Mediapart claimed top officials in French football believed there were "too many blacks and too many Arabs and not enough whites".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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