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Neymar signing demonstrates "the close ties between football, finance and politics"

Commenting on the record signing of Neymar by Paris Saint-Germain Dr David Webber of the University of Warwick's Department of Politics and International Studies, a researcher of the economy of football, said:

"It is an astonishing amount of money - more than twice that Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last summer and two and a half times that paid to United by Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Of course, while a lot of people will be discussing whether any footballer is worth *that* much money - let alone how any club can afford it - it does also raises a number of issues that demonstrate the close ties between football, finance and politics.

"From a footballing point of view, signing a player like Neymar would represent a considerable coup for PSG who, like Manchester City, have, for all their wealth, struggled to seriously challenge the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Juventus on the pitch for the top European silverware.

"This signature also goes to show the amount of wealth - and the serious financial inequality that now exists within the game. It raises some serious questions of sustainability - issues that UEFAs Financial Fair Play regulations were meant to address. It also remains to be seen whether this is not a one-off but rather a starting gun for a new round of transfers that will break the 100 million euro mark amongst football's global, or rather European elite. If so, we are likely to see these clubs breakaway from the pack, with very profound consequences for competitiveness within domestic leagues and the grassroots game more broadly.

"Politically, this is also a huge statement of intent from the Qatari state that effectively owns PSG through Oryx Qatar Sports Investments. As a country, Qatar has come under sustained pressure from its neighbours in the Middle East. Qatar has long used sport - football in particular as a form of soft power - and Neymar's transfer from Barcelona to Paris is not simply a European affair but one, which PSG's Qatari owners will use to send a shot across the bows of its critics much closer to home."

Contact:

Tom Frew, Senior Press and Media Relations Manager – University of Warwick:

E: a dot t dot frew at warwick dot ac dot uk
M: +44(0)7785433155