PSG ultras petition for Al-Khelaifi meeting and slam 'flashy signings' policy

By Sports Desk March 25, 2023

A collective of Paris Saint-Germain 'ultras' made a fresh request on Saturday to meet with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, while complaining about the "compulsive purchase of flashy names" and demanding a return of the team's famous Hechter shirt design.

In a press statement, the Collectif Ultras Paris complained the club have put marketing above sporting priorities, and warned the churn of personnel on and off the pitch was bringing the same results each season.

Some would argue PSG have never had it so good, with their success during the Qatar Sports Investments era – since 2011 – far exceeding anything previously achieved. They have won eight of the last 10 Ligue 1 titles, having only been champions twice before, while in 2020 they reached the Champions League final.

It is not winning over the ultras, however, with the club's most hardcore supporters insistent the club have underperformed.

An 11th Ligue 1 title this year would make PSG the most successful team in the competition's history, as they currently share the record of 10 with Saint-Etienne.

The ultras said in their statement: "Seasons pass and look the same. Players, coaches and sports directors follow one another and the same causes produce the same effects. Once again, our club has not lived up to its national and European objectives."

The group pointed to an early Coupe de France exit at the hands of fierce rivals Marseille, a "flat-lining" Champions League last-16 defeat to Bayern Munich, and a struggle to dominate in the domestic league.

PSG hold a seven-point lead over Marseille with 10 rounds of Ligue 1 games remaining.

The club have been able to attract major stars such as Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Marco Verratti, Sergio Ramos and Gianluigi Donnarumma, but the goal of becoming champions of Europe remaining frustratingly out of reach.

The ultras said: "However, we have decided to maintain our support in the stands for the time being, the players not intended to be the scapegoats of a poorly constructed squad, a sports policy without real direction, the compulsive purchase of flashy names without worrying about the balance of the team, and the policy of a club where marketing seems to have taken precedence over sport.

"We will therefore continue our support until the 11th title of champion of France, which is meant to be historic, is acquired to our club."

The group added: "We ask for the umpteenth time to meet quickly with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to explain to him orally the many problems that we have identified in and around the club, sporting and non-sporting, for many years."

They want to raise a ticketing issue that the group says favours "tourists and other VIPs", and are up in arms about PSG abandoning the shirt style pioneered by fashion designer Daniel Hechter, who had a stint as club president in the 1970s.

That home shirt design featured a thick red strip, with thin white lines at either side, down the middle of a largely dark blue shirt.

This season it has been inverted, with a thick white strip and thin red lines, and the fans are revolting, also calling for PSG to stay at the Parc des Princes amid concerns about a possible move to the Stade de France.

"We want profound changes and guarantees concerning the permanent return of the Hechter jersey," the ultras said.

They added: "Our love of the club is limitless, not our patience."

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