Nasser Al Khelaifi, the president of French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain and chairman of pay-TV network BeIN Sports, described his acquittal in a corruption case in Switzerland as a “total vindication”.
The Qatari businessman, who is also a member of the executive committee of European soccer governing body Uefa, had been charged with inciting former Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement in relation to the awarding of media rights to the global soccer body's competitions.
However, the court confirmed on 30th October he had been acquitted.
“After a relentless four-year campaign against me that ignored the basic facts and the law at every turn – I have finally, fully and completely cleared my name,” Al Khelaifi said in a statement released to the PA news agency.
“Today’s verdict is a total vindication. It restores my faith in the rule of law and in due process, after four years of baseless allegations, fictitious charges and constant smears of my reputation – all of which have been proven to be completely and wholly unsubstantiated.”
Al Khelaifi added: “I can now devote all my energy to my various roles, which are all focused on building a positive future for world sport – at a time when the industry needs strong leadership the most.”
An additional criminal complaint alleging bribery against Al Khelaifi was dropped before the case came to court after Fifa withdrew the complaint. An undisclosed settlement was understood to have been reached between Al Khelaifi and Fifa.
Al Khelaifi is one of the European Club Association (ECA) representatives on Uefa’s executive committee, and has been on the committee since February 2019 with his term due to end in March of next year, although he could be put forward for another term by the ECA.
The court said Valcke had been found guilty of forging documents but cleared of other charges. Valcke’s ten-year ban from all soccer-related activities, imposed by Fifa, was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in 2018.
Nasser Al Khelaifi has been acquitted of corruption in Switzerland