French football team Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) was fined €100,000 by the French football league’s (LFP) disciplinary commission on Tuesday for the illegal racial profiling of potential young recruits, said a statement by the football body.
Last November, French media revealed that from 2013 to 2018, the recruitment team of the Parisian football club categorised their young recruits by the following ethnicities: “French”, “North African”, “Caribbean”, or “African”.
The French human rights NGO, la ligue des droits de l’homme, accused the club of “discrimination” and of “collecting ethnic and racial information” for each of the recruits.
It is illegal in France to collect personal data on the ethnic background of individuals.
In its defence, the PSG said that the information had only been collected by the director of recruitment for all regions except Ile-de-France, Marc Westerloppe.
However, French sports newspaper, L’Equipe, published a document revealing that ethnic and racial data had also been collected for recruits in the Ile-de-France region.
Westerloppe and the head of recruitment for Ile-de-France, Pierre Reynaud, were each fined €5,000 with a suspended sentence after the LFP got testimony from former scouts who worked in the club’s recruitment during those five years and PSG’s general manager, Jean-Claude Blanc.
Bertrand Reuzeau, the director of PSG’s training centre between 2013 and 2015, was fined €10,000 with a suspended sentence.
Blanc’s claimed that PSG’s general management was not aware of the ethnic registration system — he was not sanctioned by the LFP.
“Given the proof presented to us, we’ve come to the conclusion that the PSG did not use this information for discriminatory purposes. No discrimination was made by the club,” said Sebastien Deneux, president of the league’s disciplinary commission at a press conference.
“These elements appeared to us as individual clumsiness and emerge from collective negligence,” he added.
What’s reprimanded, according to Deneux, is the usage of this information by heads of training and recruiters.
The Paris prosecutor’s office is currently investigating whether the French club discriminated against young recruits based on their ethnicity or origin.
Euronews has reached out for comment.
By Cristina Abellan Matamoros with REUTERS, AFP