PSG Chairman Subject of Criminal Investigation Over World Cup Bribery Claims
13 October, 2017, 00:39
The 2018 and 2022 World Cup will be played in Russian Federation and Qatar respectively, while the 2026 and 2030 tournaments have not yet been awarded.
The chairman of Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain and the sports broadcaster beIN, Nasser al-Khelaifi, has been accused in Switzerland of criminally bribing the former Federation Internationale de Football Association secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, to buy World Cup TV rights.
Al-Khelaifi and Valcke previously negotiated a deal for the 2018 and 2022 rights weeks after Qatar won the 2022 hosting vote.
Valcke was FIFA's secretary general under then-president Sepp Blatter from 2007 until he was sacked in January 2016.
Khelaifi, now one of the most powerful figures in European and world football, has been implicated in the Fifa corruption scandals for the first time, accused of bribing Valcke in connection with the award of TV rights for the 2026 and 2030 tournaments, whose hosts have not even been decided yet.
While Valcke was being questioned, authorities in France, Greece, Italy and Spain searched "properties" as part of the probe, the Swiss prosecutors said.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari president of Paris Saint-Germain, is facing criminal proceedings in Switzerland in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cup.
Al Khelaifi's profile has risen in recent weeks as PSG pursued and sealed a world record transfer of Brazil forward Neymar from Barcelona for £198m.
The 43-year-old Al-Khelaifi is chairman of Qatar Sports Investments which has invested heavily in PSG.
Valcke, a French former TV presenter, was in Switzerland on Wednesday to testify at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in his appeal hearing against a 10-year ban by Federation Internationale de Football Association for financial wrongdoing and abuse of expenses. "The company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of this investigation".
"FIFA has constituted itself as a damaged party in this investigation", the Zurich-based organization said.
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