Swiss prosecutors quiz PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi over World Cup media rights | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.10.2017
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Swiss prosecutors quiz PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi over World Cup media rights

Nasser al-Khelaifi, who is also head of the beIN media group, was grilled over allegations he obtained television rights to the 2026 and 2030 World Cups by bribing a former top FIFA executive. He denies any wrongdoing.

Investigators spent several hours quizzing Paris Saint-Germain president and beIN media chief Nasser al-Khelaifi on Wednesday over accusations he used bribery to secure World Cup media rights. 

The Qatari is close to the royal family of the Gulf state, which will host the 2022 World Cup.

He is not under investigation in connection to that World Cup but over the 2026 and 2030 events. Some media rights have already been sold despite the hosts for those two editions not yet being known.

Swiss prosecutors allege al-Khelaifi struck illegal deals with disgraced former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, who had been Sepp Blatter's number two.

Blatter and Valcke left Switzerland-based FIFA amid the widespread corruption allegations which enveloped football's world governing body in 2015. Much of the scandal centred around media rights sales and the latest probe is partly connected.

"The world of football needs to be patient for the results of this first interrogation," the Swiss attorney general's spokesman Andre Marty said.

"There is huge complexity to the criminal proceedings." 

Frankreich European Rugby Champions Cup Stade Francais Paris vs Treviso (Getty Images/AFP/K. Tribouillard)

Qatar-based BeIN Sports are at the heart of a World Cup media rights row.

FFP probe

Khelaifi, 43, and his legal team arrived at the attorney general's offices in the Swiss capital Bern in the morning, avoiding the main entrance. 

They stayed inside for several hours, with Al-Khelaifi telling reporters he has "nothing to hide" when he eventually emerged.

Khelaifi's French lawyer Francis Szpiner previously announced that his client "denies any corruption".

The allegations are not connected to his role as PSG chairman, but the French club is being investigated separately by European governing body UEFA over possible breaches of financial fairplay rules following the world record purchase of Neymar for 222 million euros (262 million dollars).

The beIN Media group, based in the Qatari capital Doha but with TV channels across the world, says the World Cup rights deals were "advantageous for FIFA". 

mlm/mds (afp/ap)