PSG and Manchester City are the crown jewels for the two golf opponents with two pretty much comparable situations. First, Qatar bought PSG through Qatar Sports Investment ten years ago. It is estimated that he has invested between 1.5 billion and two billion euros. Your boss is therefore the Qatar Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, who is very close to the Emir of Qatar Hamad Al Thani. Mirror effect at Manchester City: But here it is the United Arab Emirates and in particular their political capital Abu Dhabi. The structure is called Abu Dhabi United Group, which bought Manchester 13 years ago and formed the City Football Group around the club. Here, too, investments are estimated at around two billion euros. Chief Khaldoon al Mubarak is directly linked to Emirati Prince Mohammed Bin Zayed.
However, there is a slight difference between the two projects. The Emirates are in the process of building a 100% multinational football company centered around Manchester City, with a dozen clubs around the world, in Australia, China, India, Japan, the United States and Uruguay, employing almost 2,000 people in all. 1,500 players. While Qatar, with 360 degrees, is a bit broader in terms of sport, a bit more ambitious. Of course, with the organization of the soccer World Cup at the end of 2022 and the creation of a sports-related media group, BeIN Sports.
The two countries weigh about the same: two and a half million inhabitants for Qatar, one and a half million for Abu Dhabi, nine million if we count the emirates as a whole. They are neighbors to the east of Saudi Arabia: Qatar north of the Emirates. They were almost part of the same country, but in 1971, during their respective independence, Qatar decided to go it alone, away from the brand new federation of the United Arab Emirates.
They are comparable economic powerhouses, one based on oil (Emirates), the other on gas (Qatar). And they are rivals. The two ruling families are on bad terms. The last few years in particular have been very tense. From the moment the Emirates, along with Saudi Arabia, imposed a total economic blockade on Qatar in June 2017, which they accused of supporting Iran and Islamist terrorism. Qatar held out, the blockade went nowhere, and the borders finally reopened three months ago. But the crisis has left many scars. It is not without reason that Qatar sees Abu Dhabi as the originator of this embargo, the displeasure is persistent. She’s not going away anytime soon.
Qatar and Abu Dhabi are therefore locked in a proxy conflict over their European sports properties. It’s all about maintaining your golf supremacy by winning on the pitch in Europe. It is all the more effective politically as the two teams have a politically neutral image. It’s smarter and more efficient. The number one goal, therefore, is geopolitical, symbolic, almost moral leadership. With these eyes, the Emir of Qatar Al Thani and the Emirati Prince Mohammed Ben Zayed will watch the game. It’s serious: Five years ago, PSG coach Laurent Blanc was left behind after a defeat by Manchester City, though not the most dishonorable in the club’s recent history.
So to claim that supremacy you have to go to the end: win Champions League, move to Chelsea, Russian owned and winners 2012, only club of the ‘new rich upstarts’ who so far must have broken the supremacy of the big European clubs, historical, Real, Bayern, Juventus, etc. Of course, the calculation is also economical. Qatar and the Emirates hope to get their stakes back and make money with these clubs. If only by selling jerseys around the world with this Eiffel Tower logo, which is an unstoppable marketing tool for PSG. Likewise, Qatar is not doing philanthropy by organizing the soccer World Cup in a year and a half. He relies on deals with large private sponsors to make money. So the economic problems are there. But they are secondary. It is above all a symbolic rivalry.