Qatari chairman of Paris Saint-Germain accused of bribery

Nasser Al-Khelaifi
Updated 12 October 2017
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Qatari chairman of Paris Saint-Germain accused of bribery

LONDON: The head of Qatari sports media group beIN, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, is facing bribery charges over the award of World Cup television rights.
Authorities in Switzerland have opened a criminal probe targeting Al-Khelaifi, who as chairman of Paris Saint-Germain is one of football’s most powerful figures, and FIFA’s former secretary general Jerome Valcke.
It is alleged that the Qatari bribed Valcke to award 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights to Qatari-owned beIN Media Group.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland said in a statement: “It is suspected that Jerome Valcke accepted undue advantages from a businessman in the sports rights sector in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030, and from Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2026 and 2030.
“As it announced in March 2016, the OAG (Swiss Attorney General) is already conducting a proceeding against Jerome Valcke, in particular on suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement. This proceeding is still ongoing. The new proceeding has been opened primarily on the basis of findings obtained by the OAG in the earlier proceeding.”
The news comes as a huge blow to Al-Khelaifi who as PSG boss this summer succeeded in achieving major coup in landing Brazilian star Neymar from Barcelona in a world-record $263 million transfer. Thanks to Qatari money the French giants have become one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
But the Al-Khelaifi probe also comes as another blow for Qatar’s reputation, despite its “soft power” bids to boost its reputation through purchasing sports teams and hosting the 2022 World Cup.
Such aims to project its power have been undermined by frequent accusations of wrongdoing.
It comes a week after a report on the Qatar World Cup by a London-based consultancy was leaked to the BBC. The study concluded that there are many reasons — ranging from allegations of corruption, to the current regional political crisis, to the possible knock-on effects on infrastructure projects — to predict that the tournament will not take place in the country, warning construction companies that it is a “high-risk” project to work on.
The criminal proceeding against Al-Khelaifi was opened on March 20, but only announced on Thursday, the Swiss federal office said. The case stemmed from a wider investigation into FIFA’s business that saw criminal proceedings opened against Valcke in March 2016.
Valcke, who is no stranger to controversy, was FIFA’s secretary-general under then-President Sepp Blatter from 2007 until he was fired in January 2016. He was in Switzerland yesterday to testify at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in his appeal hearing against a 10-year ban by FIFA for financial wrongdoing and abuse of expenses.


Liverpool are scared of no one, claims confident Jurgen Klopp ahead of PSG clash

Updated 18 September 2018
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Liverpool are scared of no one, claims confident Jurgen Klopp ahead of PSG clash

  • Reds boss wants side to prove march to last season's final was no fluke.
  • Liverpool face French powerhouses PSG at Anfield on Tuesday.

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his side shouldn’t be scared of any side as they look to go one step further in the Champions League after reaching the final last season.
The visit of Paris Saint-Germain to Anfield on Tuesday gives Klopp’s men an early chance to show their run to the final in Kiev was no fluke, particularly after a summer of what already appears shrewd business in the transfer market.
Liverpool have won all five of their opening Premier League games after spending a then-world record fee for a goalkeeper on Alisson Becker, bolstering their midfield options in Naby Keita and Fabinho and adding extra back up to a prolific front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane with Xherdan Shaqiri.
“The players we spoke to in the summer or a little earlier, they were different talks to those I had the previous year or before,” said Klopp, who has transformed Liverpool’s fortunes in just under three years in charge.
“In the moment, it is a different club to the club I joined when I came in.
“We are in the place where we want to be without being satisfied with anything. We are a challenger and we are a challenger again for pretty much everything, especially in each game.
“I don’t think there is any game in the world where you would say beforehand, ‘No chance Liverpool,’ which is good.”
Liverpool upset Premier League champions Manchester City and scored five against Porto and Roma on their way to the final before losing to Real Madrid, which Klopp believes has restored some of the fear factor of going to Anfield on a European night.
“I think we got a lot of respect because of the way we played last season and I think everyone who saw the final saw that we could have won it against a side in a completely different moment,” he added.
“They see the games we played. They saw City, they saw Rome, they saw Porto. They saw so many games which we played in a really good way. There was a lot of respect.
“The best way is when you are experienced you use your new knowledge and start again, like a virgin if you want.”