STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Paris Saint-Germain at center of storm over racially profiling young players

It's one of Europe's biggest clubs and the dominant force in French football, but Paris Saint-Germain says t...

Posted: Nov 9, 2018 12:58 PM
Updated: Nov 9, 2018 12:58 PM

It's one of Europe's biggest clubs and the dominant force in French football, but Paris Saint-Germain says the club's "spirit and values were betrayed" as its scouts illegally racially profiled young players during recruitment over a five-year period.

Backed by Qatari ownership, PSG released a statement after the French investigative website, Mediapart, published leaked documents on Thursday. CNN is unable to independently verify the documents.

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Discrimination

Europe

Football (Soccer)

France

Immigration

Immigration, citizenship and displacement

International relations and national security

Kylian Mbappe

Law enforcement

Ligue 1

Paris Saint-Germain FC

Racial profiling

Racism and racial discrimination

Societal issues

Society

Sports and recreation

Sports figures

Sports organizations and teams

Western Europe

Mediapart revealed that PSG detailed the ethnic origins of potential recruits, and that players were "disregarded" by the Parisian club on the grounds of being black.

The Greater Paris area, particularly its diverse, sprawling suburbs, is arguably the most fertile breeding ground in the world for top-class footballing talent.

In a statement released by PSG on its website, the Ligue 1 club said that the practice of racial profiling took place between 2013 and 2018 and that its management were not aware of it at the time.

PSG said it was made aware of the racial profiling in October and that forms used by the department responsible for scouting outside the Parisian region "contained an unacceptable identification field" which listed the prospective player as French, North African, black African or West Indian.

In France, authorities prohibit the collection of data on an individual's race, religion or ethnicity.

"At no time (club management) was aware of an ethnic monitoring within the scouting department or ever in possession of such a form," the statement said.

"These forms betray the spirit and values of Paris Saint-Germain," it said, adding that young talent is decided "solely on a skills and behavioral basis."

Now the club, it said, has "launched an internal investigation to understand how such practices could have existed and to decide on the necessary measures to be taken."

READ: Kylian Mbappe: The 'phenomenon that breathes and sleeps football'

According to the documents leaked to Mediapart, the club's former chief scout, Marc Westerloppe, said: "There are too many West Indians and Africans in Paris" and that there was a "problem with the direction of the club."

A player who was revealed to have been racially profiled was 17-year-old Yann Gboho -- who was born in the Ivory Coast -- as "West Indian."

Mediapart says Westerloppe was summoned to a meeting in June 2014 in which he rejected the accusations against him as "false, malicious and stupid."

Westerloppe now works for French football club Stade Rennes. He was not immediately available for comment when contacted by CNN. Ghobo is now a Stade Rennes player.

France's history with football and race

First in 1998 when France won the World Cup and again this year -- when it defeated Croatia 4-2 -- football has been hailed as a unifying force for a country with a difficult colonial past, where racial tensions were never far from the surface.

READ: Is it time to sympathize with PSG's Naymar?

In 1998 the team was labeled the Black, Blanc, Beur (Black, White, Arab) and was hailed a positive representation of a multi-ethnic France.

And in 2018, the championship-winning team featured no less than 15 players with African heritage, including 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe, whose mother is of Algerian origin, while his father is from Cameroon.

Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values, Peniel Joseph, wrote for CNN this year that the win "represented a victory for Africa and immigrants everywhere."

He added: "The team's success is particularly noteworthy because of the way in which anti-immigrant sentiment, especially against migrants with African roots, has roiled French society over the past two decades.

"The racial and ethnic diversity of the French World Cup team offers another, more optimistic, lesson about immigration, globalization and citizenship.

"We can look to the French support of (Kylian) Mbappe and his fellow teammates for guidance. From Mbappe's Parisian suburb of Bondy and beyond, French citizens -- young and old -- have proudly hung French football banners, worn Mbappe jerseys and shouted words of encouragement for the team's players.

Patrick Mignon, a sociologist at INSEP, the national sports institute (Institut National du Sport, d'Expertise, et de la Performance), told CNN in 2015 that until the 1960s, "France was a very white society." Most who emigrated originated from all corners of Europe and assimilated seemingly seamlessly into the social fabric.

Visit CNN.com/football to read more news and features

He said for some, football was the only way for young men to achieve their success.

"It is much more difficult to be promoted socially though work or school," said Mignon, than through sport. Thus, "sport is a means for people of immigrant background to not only integrate into society, but to have some rewards."

West Lafayette
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 30°
Kokomo
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 26°
Rensselaer
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 24°
Fowler
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 30°
Williamsport
Partly Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 30°
Crawfordsville
Partly Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 28°
Frankfort
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 28°
Delphi
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 27°
Monticello
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 27°
Logansport
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 28°
A few showers, then much warmer weather is ahead...
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1097128

Reported Deaths: 17438
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1437882222
Lake712531225
Allen65537867
Hamilton50147482
St. Joseph48760639
Elkhart39461538
Vanderburgh34221495
Tippecanoe30237271
Johnson27179463
Hendricks25845379
Porter25014381
Madison20656444
Clark19898275
Vigo18764308
LaPorte16857260
Delaware16425291
Howard16408311
Monroe16379217
Kosciusko13936163
Hancock12841185
Bartholomew12686188
Warrick11995189
Wayne11879265
Floyd11869225
Grant11701235
Morgan10252188
Boone9675120
Noble9069121
Henry9002165
Marshall8907146
Dearborn881799
Dubois8710139
Shelby8054128
Cass8014127
Lawrence7922182
DeKalb7591106
Huntington7448108
Jackson743893
Gibson7002118
Montgomery6910123
Harrison685296
Knox6827113
Steuben654186
Miami6477107
Whitley642260
Putnam631982
Clinton618976
Wabash6060108
Jasper601791
Jefferson5689103
Ripley549192
Adams532381
Daviess5003116
Scott480378
Wells471799
White468767
Greene461799
Clay457462
Decatur4529109
Jennings439666
Fayette435694
LaGrange419290
Posey403244
Washington384154
Randolph3818107
Fountain368362
Spencer355846
Fulton355572
Starke348772
Owen346276
Sullivan344954
Orange324470
Jay318650
Rush298332
Carroll289438
Franklin286744
Perry283253
Vermillion280458
Tipton247365
Parke246330
Pike244144
Blackford218044
Pulaski205658
Newton179052
Brown171850
Crawford167929
Benton163217
Martin150819
Switzerland145112
Warren132216
Union117816
Ohio91413
Unassigned0585

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events