Oil millions from Bahrain for Paris FC – will PSG soon have competition from its own city?
Exactly nine years ago, a Qatari investor group got involved in Paris St-Germain. Thanks to the oil millions from the Arab Emirate, the sleeping giant developed into a major European club in 2011. Stars like Neymar or Kylian Mbappé found their way to Paris for a lot of money and Ligue 1 developed into a “one-club show”: PSG has been French champion seven times in the last eight years.
But now PSG could soon face competition from its own city: The kingdom of Bahrain is joining the second division club Paris FC immediately. The King of the Emirate personally takes over 20 percent of the club through a state fund. “Explore Bahrain” also becomes the club’s main sponsor.
The first goal is to move up to Ligue 1 within three years. But the PFC is still not about as much money as the big neighbor PSG. The 20 percent club shares only cost five million euros, but for the almost relegated to the third-class, this is still a decent financial injection. The budget can be increased by 30 percent overnight.
But that’s not the end of the story. In a communiqué, the second division announced that they wanted to attract additional foreign investors. The current president Pierre Ferracci, who currently holds 77 percent of the shares, wants to keep control of the club. It should “continue to be based on a regional and national majority basis”.
Nevertheless, the club emphasizes that the financial injection from Bahrain is a good opportunity to “lead the club into a new era”. The PFC was only created in 1969 in response to the almost simultaneous relegation of the traditional Parisian clubs Racing Club and Stade Français from the first French division. One year after the foundation, they merged with Stade Saint-Germain to form the new Paris St-Germain club. Because the then mayor of Paris did not want to support a club from a suburb, the separation took place again in 1973. While PFC was able to keep the professional players, PSG had to start again with the amateurs in the third division.
The eventful history of the PFC:
As a result, however, Paris St-Germain prevailed over the favor of Parisian football fans. While PSG was able to establish itself as a top French club, the PFC played in 1979 for the last time in the top division. Since 1982, people have been swinging between third and fourth class. It was not until 2015 that the long-awaited promotion to Ligue 2, in which one has finally established itself since 2017, was successful.
Thanks to the oil millions from Bahrain, the return to the upper house of French football will soon follow. With PFC you think you are on the right track and go step by step. Last November, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo publicly spoke out about a renovation of the Stade Charléty. The second largest stadium in Paris after Prinzenpark was built in 1994 and currently offers 20,000 seats. Last season, however, only 2344 spectators came to the PFC games on average.
For Bahrain, the Paris FC could be the perfect chance to find shelter in European football for a little while, despite the not yet very strong fan base. The authoritarian kingdom had, in the past, greatly increased its investments in sport like many other Arab countries. Bahrain already acquired shares in the McLaren Formula 1 racing team through the Mumtalakat Holding Company in 2007, and the Bahrain GP has existed since 2004. The Bahrain-Merida cycling team was also founded in 2017 and has started this year as Bahrain-McLaren.