21 days to go to the AFC Asian Cup, UAE 2019

beIN Sport boss Al-Khelaifi meets Swiss prosecutors over World Cup rights buy

October 26 – After being grilled for some eight hours by Swiss prosecutors, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, the under-fire Qatari boss of beIN Sport Media who is at the centre of corruption allegations over World Cup TV rights, said he had nothing to hide and would willingly testify again.

Criminal proceedings against Al-Khelaifi, who is also CEO of Paris St Germain, former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, and an unnamed businessman working in sports rights were announced by the office of Switzerland’s attorney general earlier this month.

Al-Khelaifi is alleged to have struck illegal deals with Valcke – FIFA’s secretary general for eight years until his firing in January 2016 – for the award of broadcasting rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cup.

Valcke, who recently lost his appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) against his 10-year ban from football, has already been interrogated over the latest claims and after emerging on Wednesday from the Swiss attorney general’s office (OAG) in Bern, Al-Khelaifi  proclaimed his innocence. “I have nothing to hide,” he told reporters.

“I asked to come to Switzerland to give my explanations. I am at the disposal of the attorney general if he wants to see me again. I am calm and I am leaving calmly.”

Al-Khelaifi and Valcke have been under investigation since March over media rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups. The beIN Media group, which is headquartered in Doha, rejects any suggestion that it got favourable treatment.

Switzerland’s OAG spokesman Andre Marty told reporters there was “a good dozen” lawyers in the room on Wednesday “from all parties involved”. He said there was “huge complexity in the case” with “masses of information” to be sorted and that therefore “the world of football will have to be patient as to the results of this first interrogation.”

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