FIFA’s Valcke, beIN Media Group chief Khelaïfi, still under Swiss probe

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Since October 2017, the Swiss justice has been pursuing a case of alleged corruption over the allocation of TV rights for the World Cups 2026 and 2030 tournaments.

Jerome Valcke, former FIFA secretary-general, and Nasser bin Ghanim al-Khelaïfi, chairman and chief executive officer of beIN Media Group, chairman of Qatar Sports Investments, and president of Paris Saint-Germain, have maintained the same defense as before.

“I was never involved in one way or another in the negotiation of this contract, the negotiations being led by Niclas Ericsson, then director of the TV department of FIFA, and his team. The contract was of greater value than the previous one. This corruption case is absolutely nonsense,” explained Valcke on Wednesday, according to the French daily Le Monde.

The investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Swiss Confederation is particularly interested in the rental of a villa in Sardinia, which the Qatari owner of beIN Media used as a “means of corruption” by the person who also holds the position of President of the PSG.

A complaint has been filed by FIFA. But the Al-Khalifi camp insists and underlines that “the proposal of beIN was largely superior and very beneficial for FIFA.”

According to those with knowledge on the file, the business would have concluded in 2013-2014 for around €500 million. It concerns 24 countries in the Middle East, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and North Arabia, but It has never been officialized by FIFA.

The rental of a villa by Valcke, in particular, also came in for review. According to a report in Le Monde, this house, located in Porto-Cervo (Sardinia), belongs to Abdelkader Bessedik, a close friend of Nasser al-Khelaïfi. Bessedik signed a contract and repaid a loan of €5 million from the president of the PSG to use it. The public prosecutor of the Swiss Confederation’s investigation concluded that the renting of this villa would have been used as a means of corruption by al-Khelaïfi. A complaint has been filed by FIFA.

“The beIN proposal was far larger and very beneficial for FIFA,” was the line of defense from the camp of al-Khelaïfi, president of the television group.

According to sources with knowledge about the issue, the case would have been decided upon in 2013-2014 for an amount amounting to €500 million. A contract covering 24 Middle Eastern countries that would have been approved through the initials of Marco Viliger, FIFA’s legal director at the time and now deputy secretary-general, and Markus Kattner, finance director.

Valcke, the tenant of the villa, has maintained for his part that he has paid the €96 000 annual rent.

The French national and al-Khelaïfi were both heard by the Swiss prosecution in October 2017 about this rental lease. They have never been heard by the FIFA Ethics Committee.