Borussia Dortmund’s chief financial officer has suggested Paris Saint-Germain secured an unfair advantage in the transfer market by selling Brazilian forward Neymar to Saudi Premier League club Al-Hilal, and questioned whether UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules were being applied effectively — before the German club’s chief executive later apologised to the French champions.

Europe’s leading clubs met at the European Club Association general assembly in Berlin this week and during a meeting of elite clubs, Dortmund executive Thomas Tress stunned those present by highlighting PSG’s deal with Al Hilal for Neymar, which was worth in excess of £80million. The Saudi Premier League has been turbo-charged by investment from the state sovereign wealth fund PIF while PSG are owned by Qatar Sports Investment, which has its own links to the Qatari state.

The Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke subsequently called PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi to apologise, with the two clubs set to meet in the Champions League in 12 days’ time, as they form part of a highly competitive group alongside Premier League club Newcastle United and Italian giants AC Milan.

According to sources in the room, who remain anonymous because the conversations are supposed to be confidential, Tress appeared to be arguing that the Saudi cash had distorted the transfer market by disproportionately allowing certain clubs such as PSG a way out of tight Financial Fair Play restrictions and enabling the French club to raid European rivals for talent.

The comments were made in front of the PSG President and ECA chairman Al-Khelaifi, who then waited outside the room following the meeting to confront Tress about his comments. Al-Khelaifi felt Tress had embarrassed him by making the comments in front of other clubs and said that if there is a problem, it should be discussed amicably between the parties in private. The two clubs, who did not wish to comment, in general consider themselves to have good relations.

Spending by Saudi Pro League clubs this window has exceeded £750million after PIF took control of Al Ahli, Al Ittihad, Al Hilal and Al Nassr in June.

A number of European clubs, including Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Wolverhampton Wanderers, have benefitted from the Saudi spending, enabling them to sell players, many of whom were out of favour or had a year remaining on their contracts, for substantial transfer fees.

Dortmund, meanwhile, have not sold any players to the Saudi Pro League during the summer window.

UEFA has been contacted by _The Athletic _for comment.



Behind the scenes of the Saudi Pro League: What really awaits stars like Neymar

(Photo: Mohammed Saad/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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