Nasser Al-Khelaifi ‘vindicated’ by corruption case acquittal as ex-FIFA official Jerome Valcke is convicted

Nasser Al-Khelaifi ‘vindicated’ by corruption case acquittal as ex-FIFA official Jerome Valcke is convicted

Nasser Al-Khelaifi was acquitted in a corruption case in Switzerland on Friday while former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was convicted.

The Qatari, who is Paris Saint-Germain chairman and CEO as well as an executive for broadcaster beIN Media Group, was cleared of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

The Frenchman was, however, found guilty of forging documents linked to World Cup television agreements in Greece and Italy.

“After a relentless four-year campaign against me that ignored the basic facts and the law at every turn,” Al-Khelaifi said in a statement. “I have finally, fully and completely cleared my name.

“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.

“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.”

Valcke was acquitted of accepting bribes and criminal mismanagement during his FIFA tenure from 2007-15 and given a 120-day suspended sentence as well as an order to pay FIFA €1.75 million in restitution.

Prosecutors were originally looking for a three-year sentence for the charge linked with Valcke’s use of an Italian holiday home six years ago, which is when FIFA renewed the World Cup rights for the Middle East and North Africa with Qatari broadcaster beIN.

Al-Khelaifi is also a member of UEFA’s executive committee and was not linked to the bribery charge against Valcke.

The conviction of the 60-year-old, despite its minor nature, is the first by the Swiss prosecutors who started an investigation into FIFA and leading international soccer officials six years ago.

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Gere Allan

Gere Allan is an English football writer and novelist. He spent much of his career based in Italy and has been seen as one of the leading authorities on Italian football as a result.

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