Neymar Da Silva Santos, or How Association Football is again the ugliest head on the Lernaean Hydra of Capitalism.

By the time you read this the final details might have been finalized and Neymar Da Silva Santos, better known simply as Neymar, is the newest acquirement of football team Paris Saint Germain. The Brazilian superstar is currently on his way from Shanghai to Qatar. There he will receive a physical examination and meet the chairman of PSG, Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Neymar is currently under contract with FC Barcelona. Considered one of the best players in the world, Barcelona doesn’t want him to leave and put a clause in his contract that he can only leave if he pays Barça a whooping 222 million euros. That’s 222 million Neymar has to pay, not the team that purchases him. The clause was basically implemented as a fail-safe for him not to leave, ever.

Paris and Qatar

Paris Saint Germain however, once an average team and often not exceeding mid-table results in France, is fully owned by QIA: Qatar Investment Authority.
Since then the club is top tier side, ranked with other big names like Real Madrid, Juventus and Barcelona. The Qatari are now planning to set a scheme in motion that will cost them roughly 500 million euros to get Neymar to join their side.

It’s rumoured that the QIA is angry that FC Barcelona didn’t renew their sponsorship contract with Qatar Airlines (which they also own) and is now hell-bound to cripple them. The Qatari are going to cover the 222 million for Neymar to leave Barça, pay him another 36 million as signing fee, and 60 million as regular salary for the coming five years playing football for Paris.

Since Neymar’s contract with Barcelona dictates he has to pay the 222 million from his own pocket, Neymar will formally work for QIA as ambassador for the World Cup 2022 (which will be held in Qatar and his financed by, yup you guessed it, QIA), and receive the 222 as ‘salary’. Plus, it circumvents UEFA regulations that prevent clubs from spending more than they own. Paris Saint Germain won’t be financially responsible if their parent company pays everything.

Meanwhile Neymar’s father, who is also his agent, is angry at FC Barcelona. He was due to receive a 26 million loyalty bonus if his son would renew his contract. The money was going to be paid on the 31st of August but Barça now understandably wants to wait and see if the Qatar deal is going through.

Morituri te Salutant

The French press seems convinced that Neymar is theirs and reports a planned celebration parade through the French capital where the new player will be showed to the masses. Julius Caesar would be proud.

It’s another sad chapter in the brutalisation of a working class pastime. The corporate world digs its claws deeper into a game that’s meant to be fun for everyone. Top tier football is no longer affordable, accessible nor recognisable for regular folks. Players became commodities, clubs turned into shell companies for capitalists to invest in and fans the target to drain money from. Directly through ticket prices and merchandise, and indirectly through sponsorships, advertising and television and other media contracts.

The only way out is by redirecting our support to local teams, ran by its members and maintained as non-profit organisations. An excellent example is the way supporters of Manchester United collectively turned their back to the team and started their own. We need to see a mass movement of abandoning or taking over for-profit clubs and bring them back under collective ownership of the players and fans.

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