This time, the Football Leaks do not attack the wages of the stars of the round ball, their tax mountings or political combines between leaders. But rather to discrimination and ethnic registration. And it is the PSG which finds itself in the turmoil after the revelations, Thursday, of Mediapart and Special Envoy on France 2.
On the basis of pirated internal documents then transmitted to a consortium of European journalists, our colleagues highlighted dubious practices in the back kitchen of the club of the capital. More precisely at the training center, within the recruitment cell "outside Ile-de-France" PSG.
"French", "Maghrebi", "West Indian" or "African"
The facts stretch over a period from 2013 until spring 2018. The group of about fifteen recruiters, spread over the entire territory, is then headed by Marc Westerloppe, recognized specialist in the detection of young talents. It is he who has noticed and launched the Ivorian Didier Drogba. Right after his arrival at PSG, Westerloppe implements a computer file of supervised players.
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We are talking about adolescents aged between 12 and 15 years old. The system has already been tested when he was working at RC Lens. Apart from the classic sports characteristics, the "eyes and ears" of PSG in the regions are invited to inform the ethnicity of the player observed. Four possibilities are displayed in a drop-down menu: "French", "Maghrebi", "West Indian" or "African". Pure and hard ethnic registration prohibited by law; An offense punishable by five years' imprisonment and a fine of 300,000 euros.
Westerloppe pleads "clumsiness"
Contacted, Marc Westerloppe, today employee of Stade Rennais, recognizes "a clumsiness, a mistake" on his part, without wanting to say much more. According to his relatives, it was in his mind "information like any other", useful for anticipating possible administrative problems. "With the players of African origin, arrived in France after their birth, the papers of identity are always a sensitive point," we are told. An argument not necessarily convincing.
The recruitment policy of the Capital Club Training Center at the heart of the scandal. LP / Icon Sport / Andre Ferreira
Especially since the investigations of Mediapart and Special Envoy highlight the willingness displayed by Marc Westerloppe to remove at least one young talent from FC Rouen, Yann Gboho, on the basis of its skin color. This is part of a recruitment policy imposed by "management". Employee of Stade Rennais since his departure from the PSG in January 2018, Westerloppe strongly contests these two points. He claims that his remarks were distorted in a meeting report, dated March 2014.
The journalists' investigation reportedly alerted the management
Then remains the degree of responsibility of the Parisian club and its leaders. Still according to the Football Leaks documents, PSG's director of human resources at the time was aware of the current ethnic registration system. She would have mentioned it in a meeting organized on June 16, 2014, in which Jean-Claude Blanc, deputy general manager of the club, participated. Information categorically denied by the principal concerned, who today claims to have discovered the system through the investigation of journalists.
As for Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, president of the PSG, there is nothing to assess his level of information on the subject at the time of the facts. Finally, Olivier Letang, deputy sports director of the PSG and superior of Westerloppe at the time, said "hurt and shocked" by the revelations.
In Île-de-France, a code: "BK" for black or "BR" for butter
However, the subject of the ethnic recruitment of potential recruits at the PSG training center would not only be the work of an isolated man. According to our information, obtained from concordant sources, the recruiting team "Ile-de-France" also carried out in these last years with ethnic registration.
But by making use of codes: "BC" (white), "MS" (mestizo), "BK" (black), "BR" (butter) and "AS" (Asian). When asked about this, Jean-Claude Blanc is cautious and refers to the future conclusions of an internal investigation currently underway.