PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi Charged in Switzerland over World Cup Rights

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2020

FILE - In this May 17, 2013 file photo, Paris Saint-Germain soccer club President Nasser Al-Khelaifi, arrives to speak to the media during a press conference at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. A French judicial official says Al-Khelaifi has been placed under investigation for suspected corruption. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)
Michel Euler/Associated Press

Paris Saint-Germain president and BeIN Sports chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been charged with incitement in Switzerland over his role in the awarding of FIFA World Cup rights.

Rob Harris of the Associated Press reported the news:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Breaking from Switzerland’s attorney general: Nasser Al-Khelaifi (chairman of BeIN and Paris Saint-Germain president) indicted over the award of FIFA World Cup rights Ex-FIFA Secretary General Jerôme Valcke also indicted

Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke has also been charged with accepting bribes, aggravated criminal mismanagement and falsification of documents:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Valcke charged in Switzerland with accepting bribes, aggravated criminal mismanagement, falsification of documents. Khelaifi charged with “inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement” https://t.co/kHGMHZXiGD

Al-Khelaifi has responded to the charges:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Nasser Al-Khelaifi on Swiss case: “I have been cleared of all suspicions of bribery and the case has been dismissed definitively & conclusively. While a secondary technical charge remains outstanding, I have every expectation that this will be proven completely groundless“ https://t.co/CT8LcdcGIY

According to AS, Al-Khelaifi is accused of buying a villa in Sardinia, Italy, and letting Valcke stay in it over 18 months without paying rent, saving him somewhere between €900,000 and €1.8 million. The charge states he gave Valcke "undue advantages" before his suspension and subsequent banishment from FIFA.

A third person was also charged for allegedly making three payments worth €1.25 million to Valcke.

Harris shared more details, including an agreement between FIFA and Al-Khelaifi to withdraw a criminal complaint in January:

Rob Harris @RobHarris

Details of charges from Swiss attorney general against Nasser Al-Khelaifi (over BeIN not Paris Saint-Germain role) & ex-FIFA Secretary General Jerôme Valcke. Relates to World Cup TV rights and the purchase of a villa in Sardinia https://t.co/cNm1XUXX2g

Al-Khelaifi has been one of the leading figures in Qatar's push into sports as the chairman of the BeIN Media Group and Qatar Sports Investments. He's also the president of PSG and the nation's tennis federation, as well as a delegate on the UEFA executive committee.

Per BBC Sport, he was charged with corruption in the bidding for the World Athletics Championship last year. The event was held in Doha in 2019, and Al-Khelaifi has denied the charge.

Valcke was the secretary general for FIFA between 2007 and 2015. Per Reuters, he was banned from taking part in football-related activities for 12 years in 2016 for his part in a corruption scandal, though the sanction has since been reduced to 10 years.