THE DEBATE: Has Qatari cash at PSG ruined French football?

Arab News debates whether Qatar's cash injection into Paris Saint-Germain - and the purchase of players like Neymar - has ruined French football. (AFP)
Updated 25 November 2018
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THE DEBATE: Has Qatari cash at PSG ruined French football?

  • PSG beat Toulouse 1-0 on Saturday to make it 14 wins from 14 matches
  • Arab News debates whether Qatari cash has ruined French football

LONDON: Paris Saint-German beat Toulouse 1-0 on Saturday to make it 14 wins from 14 matches. It is still November and we can already say it will take a miracle for them not to win their eighth Ligue 1 title. Has the Qatar-owned club ruined French club football?

YES, says Greg Wilcox
Many fans have a problem with the way money has changed football. Clubs such as Nottingham Forest, who won two European Cups, no longer have a chance of glory. But never before has the corrupting influence of cash been seen so stark as with PSG and Ligue 1.
The French top flight used to be one of the most competitive in the world — from 2008 to 2012 there were five different champions. Now it is a case of everyone else playing for second. Sport is about competition and any vestige of that has been kicked into Row Z by Qatar’s cash. Why would anyone bother to watch the league now?

NO, says Daniel Fountain
Sure, Ligue Un is a procession at the moment. But, like it or loathe it, sport has become an entertainment industry. Fans want to see the best players and watch entertaining football, which PSG provide week in, week out.
The huge wealth PSG now have has never been seen before in French football. But if others are encouraged to invest in Ligue 1 clubs, it will have the same transformative effect that big-bucks, foreign-ownership has had in the Premier League and La Liga, which are often considered the best leagues in the world.
Other clubs in French football will catch up, but there always has to be a first time. You cannot blame PSG for that.


Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

Updated 20 February 2019
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Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

  • Five-time world champion feeling confident of a sixth crown ahead of new season.
  • Pre-season testing going well in Barcelona.

BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals they had better get ready to catch his dust as he is feeling “better than ever” ahead of the season.
The 34-year-old Briton enjoyed a near flawless run to secure his fifth drivers’ title last year. He won 11 of the 21 races to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with two races to spare, and he expects the Italian marque to once again keep him on his toes.
“Ferrari are very strong,” Hamilton said in Barcelona on the third day of pre-season testing.
“It appears they have a better package than last year, which means it will be a bigger challenge for us.
“In the last few years, Ferrari has looked good from the very beginning so that’s to be expected.”
But he said it would be a mistake to draw any hard and fast conclusions from the evidence thrown up by testing.
“We’ll have a better idea I guess this time next week where we stand but still then we won’t know what fuel loads everybody is on and who is showing their cars and who isn’t.”
Hamilton, with a new two-year deal that will earn him £40 million ($52 million) a season, is buzzing after the winter recess.
“I feel in the best shape that I’ve been in,” he assured his fans, as he embarks on his quest for a sixth championship and record sixth consecutive constructors’ crown for Mercedes.
On a sixth title he shrugged: “I am not even focusing on that. It’s a new season, a new year, a new chapter and we have to approach like it’s our first.
“We’re going for number one, that’s how I approach it.
“But it’s not something that I allow my peers to talk about. It’s not what we are here for to focus on that number.”
He dismissed out of hand any notion of complacency setting in at his all-conquering team.
“We are always driven to do something new and to break boundaries and do stuff that no one else has done before but we are fully aware of the work that it will take to deliver something like that and it’s by no means like ‘yeah we are going for the sixth’ like it’s a relaxed thing.
“It’s not like that.”
Hamilton’s bid for title number six begins at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17.