The Another

    Paris Saint-Germain’s Ultras suspends activities in protest against club management



    At the Parc des Princes, in Paris, during the PSG-Lens game, on April 15, 2023.

    The breakup between Paris Saint-Germain’s management and a large number of its most dedicated supporters has been confirmed. The Collectif Ultras Paris (CUP) brings together more than 2,000 people and has played a leading role in promoting the Parc des Princes since 2016. After a meeting on Tuesday, May 9 with several leaders of Paris’s football club, the CUP announced on Wednesday the “total shutdown” of its activities “until further notice.”

    This radical decision comes at a time when the club is about to win its 11th French championship. It is a highly symbolic sign of the crisis that the PSG is going through. It is now deprived of its most loyal supporters, who are decisive for its image and popular enthusiasm.

    In a press release, the CUP’s executives specified that its members will no longer be present to support the team in the stadium’s Auteuil stands or when traveling. This withdrawal extends to the women’s team and the Parisian club’s handball section. “The latest events and the state of our common relations with the management lead us to believe that this is the best and only solution likely to preserve a common future,” stated the CUP office. The PSG, meanwhile, still has four League 1 games to play this season, including two in Paris, against Ajaccio (May 13) and Clermont (June 3).

    “The situation, which we consider very serious in several respects, should not be underestimated and we do not intend to compromise on our freedoms,” emphasized the leaders of the CUP. “We are waiting for clear answers from the club on several points in order to possibly review our positions.”

    With Nasser Al-Khelaifi, no dialog is possible

    In recent years, the relationship has continued to deteriorate between the CUP and PSG, and in particular with its president, the Qatari Nasser Al-Khelaifi, aka “NAK.” The Parisian team’s repeated failures in the Champions League and the recruitment of underperforming stars have contributed significantly to this deterioration. But the breakup is also fueled by deeper reasons linked to the club’s governance and respect for its history.

    The CUP’s members as well as many long-standing supporters outside the Ultra groups believe that the PSG gives too much importance to marketing and the star system, to the detriment of the club’s identity. And they believe that “NAK” is more guilty of this than anyone and he is too often absent as far as they are concerned. There are many grievances. The uncertain future of the Parc des Princes is one; the management is in conflict with the city and is threatening to leave it. And then there is the ticketing system that penalizes the fans with the lowest income. They believe the historical colors are not being respected, which are the red and blue of the jersey designed by the fashion designer Daniel Hechter, president of the PSG at the beginning of the 1970s. More generally, many of the regulars of the Parc des Princes believe that the management is playing it by ear and not accepting any criticism whatsoever.

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