BERN: Nasser Al-Khelaifi has said he has nothing to hide after a day-long interview in front of Swiss investigators concerning allegations of corruption over FIFA World Cup television rights writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The Qatari is chief executive of the beIN Sports Group which is an offshoot of Aljazeera and has wide-ranging sports broadcasting contracts. He is also president of French Champions League contenders Paris Saint-Germain.
Two weeks ago the Office of the Attorney General claimed that Jerome Valcke, sacked and banned former secretry-general of the world football federation, had accepted “undue advantages” from Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of rights to the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.
After a day at OAG offices in Bern, Al-Khelaifi said: “I asked to come to Switzerland to give my explanations. I have nothing to hide. I am available for the Swiss attorney general, if he wants to see me again. I came here in a relaxed frame of mind and I leave in a relaxed frame of mind.”
Separately, OAG spokesman Andre Marty said that “the world of football will have to be patient as to the results of this first interrogation”.
Marty added: “There is huge complexity to the criminal proceeding, there are questions of translation, there are questions of the masses of information that needs to be proceeded and to give obviously to the suspected person a fair chance to answer according to his legal rights.”
Frenchman Valcke is also under investigation. Neither has been charged and both deny wrongdoing.
Also under investigation is an unnamed suspect, described as “a businessman in the sports rights sector”.
FIFA has confirmed that agreements have been concluded to award “certain rights” to beIN for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups in 24 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
Valcke is serving a 10-year ban from football after he was found guilty by FIFA’s former ethics judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, of misconduct over the sale of World Cup tickets, abuse of travel expenses, attempting to sell TV rights below their market value and destruction of evidence.
He is awaiting the verdict of his appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.