Paris Saint-Germain have launched an investigation into their youth recruitment practices, after acknowledging that scouts of the club had used racial profiling in the recruitment of young players.
Recent reports from French outlet Mediapart, citing documents from Football Leaks, claimed to show evidence that PSG scouts had been required to list the ethnicity of any potential recruits, in an attempt to limit the number of black players in their youth academy.
PSG announced on their official website that they would be launching an internal investigation into the allegations, after admitting that noting a player's ethnicity had been part of their scouting process between 2013 and 2018, which is illegal in France.
The club insisted that they had no knowledge of this, as it was introduced by the individual who was in charge of youth recruitment. The statement added that PSG condemn any form of racism or discrimination.
Mediapart's report included documents which alleged that former chief scout Marc Westerloppe had grown frustrated with the club's long-term vision, adding: "There are too many West Indians and Africans in Paris."
PSG's electronic scouting sheet format required scouts to choose from 1 of 4 options in detailing the player in question's ethnicity: Black African, French, West Indian or Maghrebi (Image © @Mediapart) https://t.co/TAcvoW0uHK pic.twitter.com/iS47YdR0t3— Get French Football News (@GFFN) November 8, 2018
One of the primary examples in the report involves Rennes youngster Yann Gboho, who was born in the Ivory Coast, but has represented France at youth level. PSG's report on Gboho listed the youngster as "West Indian".
The scout who conducted the report, Serge Fournier, is said to have claimed that he was instructed to do so, as PSG "didn't want us to recruit players born in Africa, because you are never sure of their date of birth".
He reportedly added: "Instead of French, it should have said white, especially as all the players we recommended were French."
A huge amount of Paris' population is made up of native Africans and their descendants, and many French athletes have dual nationalities, including many of this summer's World Cup winners and several of PSG's academy graduates. Crystal Palace's Mamadou Sakho was born to Senegalese parents, whilst current first-team star Presnel Kimpembe's father is Congolese.
After learning of this illegal activity in their scouting network, PSG have committed to formulating a new youth recruitment system, whilst also ensuring that everyone associated with the club is informed of the club's code of conduct and ethical standpoint.