PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi Acquitted of World Cup TV Rights Corruption Charges

Ross Kennerley
Oct 30, 2020, 1:40 PM GMT
Nasser Al Khelaifi has been acquitted over charges of corruption
Nasser Al Khelaifi has been acquitted over charges of corruption / Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been acquitted by Swiss justice over charges relating to beIN Media Group's purchasing of TV rights for the upcoming 2026 and 2030 World Cups.

Al-Khelaifi had been charged with aggravated criminal mismanagement for his alleged part in a corruption trial involving former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke, who himself has been found guilty of forging documents relating to television rights for the World Cup.

Le Parisien report that Valcke has been handed a 120-day suspended sentence, while Al-Khelaifi has been acquitted. The ruling comes a month after the ten-day trial was concluded following the initial charges back in February 2020.

The 46-year-old, who is also president of beIN Sports, was suspected by the Swiss prosecution of bribing Valcke in exchange for broadcasting rights of the 2026 and 2030 World Cup tournaments. Al-Khelaifi was accused of offering Valcke rent-free use of a luxurious villa he owned in Sardinia as a means of securing TV rights in Italy and Greece.

Valcke stayed in the villa for a period of 18 months, rent which amounted to an estimated value in the region of between €900,000 and €1.8m - fees which it was claimed Al-Khelaifi urged Valcke not to declare, leaving them both viable.

Only Valcke has been found guilty of the charges, this despite the prosecutor's office requesting 28 months imprisonment for the Qatari businessman, three years against Valcke and 30 months behind bars for Dinos Deris, a Greek businessman who was also accused of playing a part.

Al-Khelaifi is president of PSG and beIN Sports
Al-Khelaifi is president of PSG and beIN Sports / FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

This is not the first time that the PSG president has been accused of corruption, having also been charged for his part in Qatar's bids for the world athletics championships in 2017 and 2019 back in May 2019. These accusations related to bribes made by Al-Khelaifi in a bid to have the competition held in his home country.