French Ligue 1 football club Paris Saint-Germain has officially unveiled its lucrative sponsorship deal with Qatar Tourism Authority and has denied that the controversial agreement infringes upon Financial Fair Play regulations.
The partnership was first revealed in December 2012 and while terms have not been officially disclosed, French media outlets report that it will be worth between €150m ($204m) and €200m per year with the contract back-dated to 2012 and increasing in value on an annual basis through 2016.
PSG said the deal will break new ground in commercial agreements for sports organisations, with QTA seeking to leverage the growing global brand of the Ligue 1 champion to promote Qatar as a travel destination.
Rashed Al Qurese, director of marketing and promotions at QTA, said: “Tourism promotion is critical for Qatar to promote its economy, cultural heritage and offerings as a destination. By partnering with Paris Saint-Germain, Qatar also associates itself with Paris, a destination of choice with which we share a sense of prestige, ambition and excellence.”
QTA’s partnership with PSG will also involve associations with the club’s women’s football team and its handball outfit with a view to promoting Qatar’s staging of the Handball World Championship in 2015.
From November onwards, several outdoor billboards, located in key spots around Paris, will highlight PSG players in front of iconic Qatar landmarks – uniting the club and the country under the banner ‘Partners in Dreams.’
PSG said the deal opens up new markets to the club, and provides access to an even bigger audience, in line with its global development strategy. Under the terms of the deal, PSG will also be able to access world-class training facilities in Qatar such as the ASPIRE Zone.
Initial reports of the deal instantly drew questions as to its implications regarding Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
The deal is said to be worth twice the club’s revenues for the 2010-11 season, but PSG deputy chief executive Jean-Claude Blanc has played down accusations of a conflict of interests between QTA and PSG’s owners Qatar Sports Investments.
“QSI and QTA are two separate entities legally and in terms of accounting standards,” said Blanc, according to French newspaper Les Echos. “One is an investment fund , the other a public body. They are therefore not related parties.”