Sports

Paris Saint-Germain probe claims of racial profiling in scouting policy

Paris Saint-Germain probe claims of racial profiling in scouting policy

In a statement on Thursday PSG said: "Paris Saint-Germain reaffirms its firm condemnation of all forms of discrimination, racism or ethnic monitoring".

"We have opened an internal investigation", the source told AFP, after the claims made by French investigative website Mediapart, who cited documents from the latest series of Football Leaks allegations.

PSG confirmed that "these forms were introduced at the sole personal initiative of the head of this department" before detailing that an internal investigation was launched in October "to understand how such practices could have existed" and "decide on the necessary measures to be taken". Forms with illegal content were used between 2013 and 2018 by the training centre's department responsible for player scouting outside the Île-de-France region.

"There is a problem on the orientation of the club, a balance is needed on the mixing, too many West Indians and Africans around Paris", he said.

Mediapart published scouting reports that it claimed were used by PSG recruiters between 2013 and earlier this year to assess young players; along with evaluating a player's physical and technical skills, scouts were asked to check a box noting each player's 'origin'.

Mediapart claim an internal investigation was started in 2014 when a scout listed teenage midfielder Yann Gboho, who is a French youth global born in the Ivory Coast, as "West Indian".

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Supporters of PSG have reacted angrily to the Mediapart report on social media, pointing out that PSG's youth teams are predominately black, but the case does have parallels with another Mediapart story in 2011, when it revealed an apparent plan by the French Football Federation to limit the number of black and North African players in its youth system.

"PSG didn't want us to recruit players born in Africa, because you are never sure of their date of birth".

According to Mediapart, director general Jean-Claude Blanc was informed of Westerloppe's comments in June and summoned him to a meeting before clearing him, while director of human resources Celine Peltier alleged that former sporting director Olivier Letang "made identical remarks" to Westerloppe.

Mediapart also obtained documents of a meeting held in 2014 during which Marc Westerloppe, who was then in charge of PSG players' recruiting in France except for the Paris area, said the club should find a better "balance".

According to Mediapart, those at the top of French football believed there were "too many blacks and too many Arabs and not enough whites" in the game.

"We are in 2018, we have won the World Cup, we have had the quota affair, and now I learn that people at PSG were doing this for years".