Paris Saint-Germain at center of storm over racially profiling young players

Paris Saint-Germain are investigating claims that young players were subject to illegal racial profiling by talent scouts.

But it declined responsibility for implementing the policy after the Mediapart news website reported on Thursday that PSG's non-Paris-based scouts listed the ethnic origins of possible recruits according to four categories: "Francais" (French), "Maghrebin" (north African), "Antillais" (West Indian), and "Afrique noire" (black African). We need more diversity.

"There is a problem on the orientation of the club, a balance is needed on the mixing, too many West Indians and Africans around Paris", he said.

With the internal investigation still not over, PSG stated that they have already "defined a controlled methodology for scouting" including "a code of conduct, an ethical alert procedure and a promotion of ethical culture among club employees", and will also "set up awareness programmes via Human Resources".

PSG confirmed that "these forms were introduced at the sole personal initiative of the head of this department" before detailing that an internal investigation was launched in October "to understand how such practices could have existed" and "decide on the necessary measures to be taken".

"The Club General Directorate had never been aware of an ethnic registration system within a recruitment department nor had it in its possession", PSG said in a statement.

The phenomenon first came to light in March 2014 when 13-year-old prodigy Yann Gboho was being evaluated by Serge Fournier.

The player in question - a French youth worldwide who was born in the Ivory Coast - eventually signed for rival Ligue 1 club Rennes.

He reportedly added: "Instead of French, it should have said white, especially as all the players we recommended were French".

Mediapart said the incident caused a bit of an upset with the rest of the team.

Mediapart also obtained documents of a meeting held in 2014 during which Marc Westerloppe, who was then in charge of PSG players' recruiting in France except for the Paris area, said the club should find a better "balance".

Westerloppe, who has since joined Rennes Football Club, was summoned in June 2014 after complaints were made to the HR department but dismissed the accusations as "false, malicious and stupid", according to Mediapart.

Critics, however, say omitting race from national statistics prevents authorities from addressing issues such as the effect of race on poverty, employment as well as the size of the prison population by ethnic denomination, among others.

Supporters of PSG have reacted angrily to the Mediapart report on social media, pointing out that PSG's youth teams are predominately black, but the case does have parallels with another Mediapart story in 2011, when it revealed an apparent plan by the French Football Federation to limit the number of black and North African players in its youth system.

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