Fly Pirates

Paris Saint-Germain Are Pissed off With M.I.A.

It's the battle of the acronyms: PSG vs M.I.A.

by VICE Sports
12 January 2016, 11:12am

Having pulled so far ahead atop Ligue 1 that it's not even fun anymore, Paris Saint-Germain have become involved in a spat with the English rapper M.I.A. At least it's something to do between now and the next round of the Champions League.

In the video for her song "Borders" – a response to the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis – M.I.A. wears a PSG away shirt with the sponsor altered from Fly Emirates to "Fly Pirates". This has not gone down well with the absurdly wealthy kings of French football, who are owned by Qatar Investment Authority.

M.I.A., whose family fled to London from war-torn Sri Lanka during the country's civil war, directed the video herself. VICE's music platform Noisey – who know way more about this kind of thing than us – called Borders, "a bold and innovative political statement about adversity in the face of an ongoing humanitarian crisis – about society, borders, identity, privilege and rights."

Rather than an attempt to defame PSG – who she presumably doesn't care much about – the doctored shirt is a critique of the club's sponsor and shareholders. Both the UAE and Qatar have been criticised during the crisis for making it extremely difficult for refugees to enter their countries.

PSG have responded by insisting an immediate halt to the broadcasting of any images or clips which show M.I.A. in the shirt. In a letter posted online by the rapper, PSG stated: "We consider that the use of our brand and image in a video clip denouncing the treatment of refugees is a source of discredit to our club and distorts its public communication policy."

The letter then goes on to talk about PSG having "a remarkable impressive track record" and lists their footballing honours, which you get the feeling M.I.A. really couldn't give a shit about. And anyway, seven clubs have won more league titles than PSG, so eve we aren't all that impressed. More pertinently, the letter also mentions a a €1 million donation to charity Secours populaire and the UN Refugee Agency.

Faced with a battle between a mega-rich corporate football behemoth and a musician with something legitimate to say, it's not difficult to decide which side to take. In a world increasingly short of artists who have the courage to make a stand for what they believe in, M.I.A. wins the battle of the acronyms.

VICE Sports