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Lionel Messi: PSG under investigation for influencing Ballon d’Or vote for Inter Miami star

Lionel Messi Ballon D'Or

Paris Saint-Germain continue to be investigated over a myriad of issues surrounding the club’s activities. Focus has now shifted to how they allegedly tried to lobby for Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d’Or between 2020 and 2021.

The investigation by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office, which began in 2022, has so far indicted a couple of people, including the club’s President Nasser Al-Khelaiffi.

The report by Le Monde revealed that PSG’s former communications director, Jean-Martial Ribes, is accused of corruption and peddling where he provided favours related to the club, like tickets to journalists, politicians and other elected officials.

How PSG allegedly influenced Messi’s Ballon d’Or vote

During this time, the club’s relationship with the then editor-in-chief of France Football, Pascal Ferre, was strengthened. France Football is the magazine responsible for organising and awarding the most lucrative individual award in football – the Ballon d’Or.

The report states that the magazine was forced to delete a report that had revealed how Al-Khelaiffi had received kickbacks for the signing of Javier Pastore in 2010. The report had been published in L’Equipe, a sister publication to France Football.

It is alleged that Ferre was given tickets, including the closed-door Champions League match against Borussia Dortmund in 2020, plus a business-class ticket paid for by the Qatari government. He was then appointed as the new PSG communications director.

Ferre fires back

This was part of the plan to lobby for Messi to win the Ballon d’Or when he joined the club on a free transfer in 2021. A police investigation unearthed communication between Ribes and Al-Khelaiffi where the former told the President that he was meeting with Ferre for lunch as it was ‘important to lobby.’

Ferre denied the claims, stating that Messi wasn’t nominated for the award in 2022 and in 2021, when the Argentine won his seventh gong, he voted for Robert Lewandowski. He was appointed in his new role at the club in early 2023, according to a club statement.

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