Football

Watch: Richie Sadlier's Summary Of Why PSG And RB Leipzig Are Hated So Much Is Excellent 

Watch: Richie Sadlier's Summary Of Why PSG And RB Leipzig Are Hated So Much Is Excellent 

While the supporters and players of PSG are waking up this morning excited about the prospect of the club's first Champions League final, the majority of football fans are hoping that Bayern Munich or Lyon win this year's competition.

Granted, supporting a football team is a tribal affair but the recent semi-final between the French champions and RB Leipzig left a bitter taste in the mouth for some viewers.

Why?

Well, to begin with, PSG were founded in 1970 after the merger of Paris Football Club and Stade Saint-Germain. Meanwhile, RB Leipzig was founded in 2009 after Red Bull purchased the playing rights of fifth-tier side SSV Markranstädt with the intent of advancing the new club to the Bundesliga within eight years.

Collectively, PSG and RB Leipzig are only 61 years old. To put this into context, Madonna is older.

However, there are bigger issues at hand than just the ages of the Qatari-backed nouveau riche Parisians and the Red Bull-backed Leipzig.

Regarding the Germans, RB Leipzig are the equivalent of an MLS expansion team. Before 2009, they simply didn't exist.

Advertisement

In Germany, to avoid a situation where corporations and free-spending oligarchs own every club, the Deutscher Fussball-Bund (DFB) laws require that individual members own a majority of voting shares, a '50-plus-one' rule that's unique to Germany.

There are some exceptions - Volkswagen own Wolfsburg and pharmaceutical giant Bayer's are the main backers of Bayer Leverkusen - but they're only allowed to do so because they've bankrolled these clubs for at least two decades.

RB Leipzig managed to execute a shrewd and legal workaround of this '50-plus-one' bylaw by issuing a small number of shares, buying 49% of them itself, then pricing the rest prohibitively and choosing who could invest.

Richie Sadlier

As for PSG, the Ligue 1 side enjoyed success in the 1990s but were elevated to the very top tier of the game when they were purchased by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund in 2011.

Aside from spending over a billion Euro since the takeover and effectively turning their domestic championship into a foregone conclusion, the club is fully backed by a Gulf state that has frequently flaunted basic human rights.

Advertisement

PSG has been accused of being a tool for "sports washing" and that the Qatar Sports Investment (QSi) are an extension of a country with a history of human rights abuses and corruption.

Aside from this, the club is also seen as a way that the government of Qatar can increase its appeal and standing in the western world.

Speaking ahead of the semi-final - which PSG won 3-0 - RTÉ pundit Richie Sadlier spoke candidly about why it was hard to support either team.

"They (RB Leipzig) are very unpopular for very understandable reasons. One way of looking at Leipzig from abroad is looking in and thinking 'Oh, young manager and a really energetic style of football. It's a lovely story because they've come from nowhere in a very short period of time.  But if you look at how they've done it, they've sidestepped or trampled over the membership rules that are treated very seriously in German football. So, the importance of fans having a voice in the club is not considered here. Everyone in Germany is wishing them failure because if this model does well, you can think who's going to follow them? It's basically a marketing strategy for a drinks brand.  That's what this club exists as.

"As for PSG, far worse is that they're run by a regime with traces of allegation of anything from torturing journalists to imprisoning gay people, and a host of other human rights abuses. If you approach a game of football and see the result as a vindication or validation of the behaviour of the owners, or of the club, maybe this isn't the game for you."

PSG will face the winners of Bayern Munich or Lyon in this year's final.

As for RB Leipzig, they'll have another shot at the Champions League next year after finishing third in the Bundesliga.

Advertisement

You can view Sadlier's comments below.

SEE ALSO: Richie Sadlier Opens Up About Sexual Abuse He Suffered As A Teenager

 

Paul Moore

You may also like