Paris St-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and ex-FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke will be tried in September in a corruption case linked to media rights for FIFA tournaments. The case involves a third, unnamed man, and relates to alleged criminal mismanagement, incitement to criminal mismanagement and falsifying documents. The trial will take place in the Swiss city of Bellinzona.
Khelaifi’s lawyers said the case was “completely unfounded”. They have also filed a criminal complaint related to leaks, “making it uncertain whether the case will proceed at all”. Al-Khelaifi, who is also chairman of the BeIN media group, had been suspected of giving gifts to Valcke, in order to secure broadcast rights to prestigious events, including the World Cup. But in February, the office of Switzerland’s attorney general said it dropped “a criminal complaint of bribery” against Al-Khelaifi linked to the award of media rights for World Cup tournaments in 2026 and 2030 after FIFA reached an “amicable agreement” with the Qatari businessman at the end of January. Prosecutors, however, accused him of inciting the non-reporting of a gift. Valcke is accused of exploiting his position at football’s world governing body FIFA between 2013 and 2015 to influence the award of media rights for Italy and Greece for various World Cups and other tournaments scheduled between 2018 and 2030 “in order to favour media partners that he preferred,” in exchange for the payments from the unnamed businessman. The indictment in February also accused the third man, described as “a businessman in the sports rights sector”, of bribery over a 1.25m euro payment to Valcke’s company Sportunited LLC. Valcke has also been charged with falsifying documents, after Sportsunited’s balance sheet listed those payments as loans. Valcke, who worked with former FIFA president Sepp Blatter from 2003 to 2015, has already been banned from football for 10 years for failing to cooperate with investigators over the resale of World Cup tickets and inflated expenses.