Amid accusations of lobbying by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) to secure Lionel Messi's victory in the 2021 Ballon d'Or, the French police are now closely examining the possible ties between the club and the magazine "France Football." Allegations of messages between a former PSG director and the club president, Nasser Al Khelaifi, suggesting the need for lobbying with the then-president of the magazine, Pascal Ferré, cast a shadow over the integrity of the prestigious award.
The scandal unfolds amidst previous revelations about the current French Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, allegedly assisting PSG in tax evasion during Neymar's 2017 signing. Now, the police investigation highlights a close relationship between PSG and Pascal Ferré between 2020 and 2021, including the alleged removal of compromising content by the newspaper "L'Équipe."
The possible favoritism towards Ferré, rewarded with tickets to PSG games, raises questions about the impartiality and integrity of the Ballon d'Or selection process. The connection between the rise of Argentine Lionel Messi as the 2021 award winner and PSG's involvement is now under careful scrutiny.
Pascal Ferré, now involved in PSG's communication department, vehemently denies any influence in favor of Messi in the 2021 Ballon d'Or. However, controversy persists, especially considering Messi became the sole player to win the award representing PSG.
The 2021 award was already controversial, with Messi surpassing the outstanding performance of Polish player Robert Lewandowski, who was named the best in the world at the FIFA The Best ceremonies in 2020 and 2021. "France Football" canceled the 2020 election, citing the Covid-19 pandemic, and in 2021, Messi topped Lewandowski in the Ballon d'Or.
The truth behind these lobbying allegations is yet to be fully clarified, but the controversy surrounding the 2021 award raises serious questions about transparency and fairness in the world of soccer, emphasizing the need for a more critical analysis of the Ballon d'Or selection process.