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FIFA: before Swiss justice, the tight defense of Nasser Al-Khelaïfi

Under the eyes of his lawyers and his communicators, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi weighs each of his words in the large courtroom of the Federal Criminal Court (TPF) in Bellinzona, capital of the canton of Ticino (Switzerland). Dark suit and concentrated mine, the Qatari boss of Paris-Saint-Germain and BeIN Media appeared for more than two hours, Monday March 7, on the first day of his appeal trial for “aggravated instigation of unfair management”.

In rigorous English, Mr. Al-Khelaïfi, 48, held the same line of defense as at first instance, at the end of which he was acquitted, in October 2020. At the bar, he repeated that ‘he had not given Jérôme Valcke, the former French secretary general of the International Football Federation (FIFA), undue advantages worth between 1.4 million and 2.3 million euros, in return for the allocation, in April 2014, to the Qatari groups Al-Jazeera and BeIN Media of the media rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers FIFA: Nasser Al-Khelaïfi and Jérôme Valcke back before the Swiss Federal Criminal Court

He denies having been the owner of a villa in Sardinia worth 5 million euros and of which Mr. Valcke had exclusive use from March 2014 to September 2015. Despite the judgment of the TPF in the first court, which asserts the opposite, Mr. Al-Khelaïfi continues to claim that it is the jurist Abdelkader Bessedik, a “trusted friend, a brother”which acquired Villa Bianca through a Qatari company.

“It’s a false accusation”

The tone rises when the president of the court of appeal recalls that the court estimated, in October 2020, that the president of PSG and Mr. Valcke, 61, had vsentered into a corrupt arrangement” and that Mr. Al-Khelaïfi’s decision to acquire this villa “resulted from the central role played by Mr. Valcke in the process of negotiation and allocation » television rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.

It is a false accusation. It does not mean anythingannoys the Qatari, when he sealed an amicable agreement with FIFA, in 2020, so that the latter withdraws his complaint for “private corruption” filed in 2016. For the villa, it is a private matter between Mr. Valcke and Mr. Bessedik, to whom I granted a loan repaid at 100%. For the television rights, the negotiations took place between my director general and the television department of FIFA. Jérôme Valcke was not involved in the negotiation of the rights. We were alone in the market and we paid 65% more [480 millions d’euros] compared to the previous contract. »

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