French football giants Paris Saint-Germain have been officially taken over by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), who now own a 70 per cent share in the club.
Sebastien Bazin, the president of former majority sharelholders Colony Capital Europe, announced on today that QSI president Nasser Al-Khelaifi had signed the deal along the lines already discussed and agreed. "It is a great moment. I am convinced that I have left PSG in good hands", said Bazin.
Al-Khelaifi is also president of the Qatari television channel Al Jazeera, which last last week bid successfully to broadcast Ligue 1 matches in France, having previously agreed a deal to broadcast games internationally. "We will work over the coming years to make PSG a great team and a strong brand on the international scene, one that will make all the fans proud," said Al-Khelaifi in a statement.
PSG finished fourth in France last season, just missing out on UEFA Champions League football but securing a place in the UEFA Europa League. They were also beaten by double-winners Lille in the French Cup final.
The cash-rich Qataris look set to inject enough investment into the team for them to challenge again, not just in France but in Europe. Former AC Milan and Inter coach Leonardo has been teed up to return to the club he played for in the 1990s, this time in the role of sporting director, while Antoine Kombouare appears likely to retain his position as head coach. Robin Leproux will also stay on as president.
"I am excited to see the Parisians come to enjoy family games and support their team," said Al-Khelaifi. "I know that PSG have recorded a large increase in season tickets, a sign that we made the right decision."
PSG have also been looking to bolster their squad ahead of next season. The club have already signed striker Kevin Gameiro from Lorient and goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez from Rennes. They have also been linked with Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor and the Tottenham Hotspur pair of defensive midfielder Wilson Palacios and centre-back Younes Kaboul.
Leproux insisted, though, that the new Qatari investment would not see them fall prey to inflated prices for players. "We are still negotiating on a normal basis," he said. "Gameiro was €11m ($16m), which was his market price. We do not need to fear any adverse effects."