- Aurelien Meunier / Getty Images
- Paris Saint-Germain admitted that players were racially profiled in a statement on Thursday.
- Following allegations made by French news site Mediapart, PSG said that the head of its academy scouting department had acted on his own initiative to profile the players.
- Mediapart shared player evaluation forms obtained by whistleblowers at Football Leak, which had a field for ethnic “origin,” the detailing of which is illegal in France.
- PSG condemned discrimination in its statement and said it had launched an internal investigation into how such practices could have existed.
Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has admitted that players in its academy were racially profiled between 2013 and 2018 in order to limit the number of black players.
French news site Mediapart made the allegations of ethnic monitoring after receiving player evaluation forms obtained by whistleblower platform Football Leaks.
The forms contained a field for ethnicity, the detailing of which is illegal in France.
In a statement posted on Thursday evening, the French club said that the profiling was the sole initiative of the head of the academy’s scouting department.
The club’s statement read: “Paris Saint Germain confirms that forms with illegal content were used between 2013 and 2018 by the training centre’s department responsible for player scouting outside the Ile de France region. These forms were introduced at the sole personal initiative of the head of this department.
“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.
“As the emergence of the club’s young talents proves, scouting at Paris Saint-Germain is decided solely on a skills and behavioural basis, both on the pitch and within the group.”
Scouts of PSG used this questionnaire and categorized young players by their origin. They had four options: French/North African/Black African/West Indian#FootballLeaks @EICnetwork
(Source:Mediapart/Premières Lignes) pic.twitter.com/LB4ozS01xL
— Robin Wille (@WilleRobin) November 8, 2018
“The Club’s General Management at no time was aware of an ethnic monitoring within the scouting department or ever in possession of such a form. In view of the information mentioned, these forms betray the spirit and values of Paris Saint-Germain,” the club’s statement included in bold.
PSG general manager Jean Claude Blanc told BBC Radio 5 live he was “shocked” by the revelations and “felt betrayed.”
Mediapart’s report included details of a case in 2014 when a promising 13-year-old called Yann Gboho was listed as “West Indian” despite being French.
Serge Fournier, PSG’s scout for the Normandy region reportedly told Mediapart that “PSG didn’t want us to recruit players born in Africa, because one is never certain about their dates of birth.
“There should have been written ‘white.’ All the more so because all the players we recommended were French.”
PSG reiterated in its statement that it is launching an internal investigation, with the help of lawyers, to understand how such practices were allowed to exist and decide on disciplinary measures.
“The fight against all forms of discrimination is a fundamental commitment of the Club, demonstrated both through the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation as well as the Club’s work alongside recognized charities such as SOS Racisme, LICRA, Paris Foot Gay or Sportitude,” the club added.
PSG are just one of a number of high-profile soccer clubs including Manchester City to come under scrutiny after being outed by the Football Leaks dossier.