Swiss Prosecution Service requests 28 months' imprisonment for Nasser al-Khelaifi

Qatari leader who rules PSG's designs is involved in an alleged bribery case against former chief of FIFA Jerome Valcke
Nasser al-Khelaifi, President of PSG

A PHOTO/CLAUDE PARIS  -   Nasser al-Khelaifi, President of PSG

The Swiss prosecutor's office has requested 28 months' imprisonment for Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint Germain and also of the communications group beIN Media, for an alleged case of bribery of the former secretary general of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) Jerome Valcke, in connection with obtaining the television rights to the football World Cup and the Confederations Cup. Meanwhile, the French leader has been asked to serve three years in prison.

Thus, according to various French media, the Swiss prosecutor's office has requested three years' imprisonment for Jerome Valcke and 28 months for Nasser al-Khelaifi, in both cases with a partial suspension of the sentence. In the case of the leader of the Parisian team, he is suspected of having acquired, through a company in his own name, a luxurious villa in Sardinia and of having made it available to Valcke, in exchange for his support in the allocation of television rights. 

According to the Swiss prosecution, Valcke had undertaken to 'do his utmost' to make beIN Sports the television company responsible for broadcasting the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. The federal prosecutor responsible for the case, Joel Pahud, considers that there was bribery and requests the imprisonment of the head of the PSG.

The defence of both denies the connection between the meeting and the television rights and claims that the 2013 meeting concerns a "private" agreement. This is the first prison sentence demanded in Europe in the many scandals involving world football, following the conviction in the United States of several former South American leaders. The final decision could come at the end of October or early November.

Valcke, who until 2015 was Joseph Blatter's right-hand man, faces most of the charges related to two different cases of TV rights corruption. The 59-year-old Frenchman is accused of attempting to transfer the rights to the Middle East and North Africa for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups to beIN Media in exchange for bribes from Al-Khelaifi.

According to the prosecution, the case refers to a meeting held on 24 October 2013 at the French headquarters of beIN, in which Al-Khelaifi allegedly promised to buy a villa in Sardinia for five million euros (5.9 million dollars), granting its exclusive use to Valcke. The Qatar leader, who has denied the charges, was then to hand over the property to the Frenchman two years later under certain conditions. In exchange, according to the prosecutor's office, Valcke promised to "do his utmost" to make beIN the regional broadcaster of the two World Cups, which it did on 29 April 2014, in an agreement that FIFA has never contested since.