From Sardinian villa to Swiss prison cell: prosecutor demands long stretches for Al-Khelaifi and Valcke

March 9 – Switzerland’s public prosecutor has called for hefty prison sentences for Paris Saint-Germain and beIN Sport boss Nasser Al-Khelaifi and FIFA’s former number two Jerome Valcke (pictured) over alleged bribery relating to a World Cup TV rights deal.

The Swiss authorities, having already failed once to win their case and send the defendants to jail, are appealing the verdicts handed down to both men following a high-profile, 10-day trial in late 2020 which acquitted Al-Khelaifi and handed Valcke a suspended sentence.

Al-Khelaifi, who is now also a UEFA executive committee member and one of the most powerful figures in European football, was cleared of inciting aggravated criminal mismanagement, with Valcke found guilty of a separate charge of forging documents related to the attribution of Italian and Greek World Cup TV rights.

Valcke was ordered to pay €1.65 million in compensation to FIFA, including €400,000 in the main case, as well as CHF80,000 ($87,000) in legal costs.

On day two of the appeal hearing the federal prosecutor Cristina Castellote requested a 28-month prison sentence for Al-Khelaifi and 35 months for Valcke, the one-time go-to FIFA figurehead who served under Sepp Blatter.

Valcke and Al-Khelaifi are accused of a secret “corrupt agreement” over Qatari-owned broadcaster beIN’s acquisition of media rights in North Africa and the Middle East for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups. It is alleged that Al-Khelaifi promised to buy a luxury villa in Sardinia for €5 million, granting its exclusive use to Valcke in exchange for FIFA favouring beIN’s rights bid.

Both Valcke and Al-Khelaifi have denied any wrongdoing though Valcke is still banned from all football-related activity for violating FIFA’s ethics code.

The two men insist the villa deal was a “private” arrangement, totally unrelated to the media rights contract concluded by beIN with FIFA in April 2014.

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