Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Swiss authorities open proceedings against PSG chief over World Cup rights

Swiss authorities open proceedings against PSG chief over World Cup rights

Prosecutors said they had opened a case in March 2017 against Khelaifi, Valcke and a businessman who wasn't named on suspicion of fraud, bribery and criminal mismanagement.

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.

The OAG announced on Thursday it is investigating the awarding of World Cup media rights for the 2026 and 2030 tournaments.

Prosecutors claim that Valcke accepted the bribes from Al-Khelaifi with the intention of awarding media rights to "certain countries" for the World Cups due to be held in 2026 and 2030.

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According to the OAG, Valcke is also suspected of accepting advantages from the businessman for rights to the 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 editions.

The Guardian has approached representatives for Khelaifi and Valcke for comment.

Findings obtained in that process have led to a separate line of inquiry involving PSG president Al-Khelaifi.

Earlier this year, Khelaifi broke the world record for a player transfer fee by signing Brazilian footballer Neymar from Barcelona for €222 million.

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The PSG soccer club's Qatari owners are trying to build a global sports brand.

The case stemmed from a wider investigation of Fifa's business that saw criminal proceedings opened against Valcke in March 2016.

"FIFA has constituted itself as a damaged party in this investigation", the Zurich-based organization said.

In the three-year Swiss investigation of worldwide soccer, prosecutors said Thursday they have details of 180 suspicious transactions through banks in the country and opened "around 25" criminal proceedings.

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The probe also said none of the witnesses supported the claim of a short circuit on the bridge leading to the chaos. The CCTV footage from 9 am to 11 am was also examined and the panel probed each movement very minutely, he said.

On Wednesday, Valcke said his reputation had been destroyed by his ten-year ban from football as he appeared before a hearing to overturn the punishment at sport's highest appeal court, the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne.

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