Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Pesident of PSG, is one of the Most Important Men in the World of Soccer, but Also one of the Most Scrutinized.
Photo: Flickr-Doha Stadium Plus
LatinAmerican Post| Juan Manuel Londoño
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Leer en español: Escándalos que han afectado al presidente del PSG
A few days ago, a Swiss court lifted charges of corruption against Nasser Al-Khelaifi, president of PSG. The Qatari businessman was accused of inciting Jerome Valcke, secretary general of FIFA, to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement. Supposedly, the president of the French team would have given Valcke a rent-free stay in a villa he owned in Italy, in exchange for some television rights. Although the court found Al-Khelaifi and Valcke innocent, the latter was found guilty of accepting bribes and forging documents.
This is a case that has been going on since 2020 and, unfortunately, it is not the first time that the PSG president has faced the courts. Here are some other messes that the president of this club has gotten into.
Al-Khelaifi is a member of the board of directors of Qatar Sports Investments, the international investment fund dedicated to the acquisition of sports investments for the Government of Qatar. Although for some this is a practice that seeks to diversify the economy of that country and make it less dependent on sports, for others it is Sportswashing, a more sinister term. Sportwashing seeks to soften or "wash" the image of this government that has a reputation for having committed multiple human rights violations through sport.
Al-Khelaifi is not only a member of the aforementioned board, but also an organizing member of the World Cup committee and president of the European Club Association (ECA). He is one of the most powerful men in Soccer World and the fact that he has in the past represented an organization with questionable motives like Qatar Sports Investments calls into question all his actions.
Financial fair play
Like sportswashing, financial fair-play is another of those terms that always comes up. And it is that PSG has been accused on more than one occasion of not respecting its rules.
The problem lies in the fact that the owner of PSG is not a private entity but a state, which makes it difficult to track its sources of income. To give an example, in 2018 Rui Pedro Gonçalves Pinto, a Portuguese activist and journalist, revealed that the club's sponsors were inflating the prices of their sponsorship contracts to increase the club's income. These same sponsors include the Qatar Tourism Authority "Visit Qatar", the Qatari mobile network provider Ooredoo, the Qatar National Bank, the state-owned airline Qatar Airways and the Qatari sports broadcaster beIN Sports (from which Al-Khelaifi is president).
The fact that PSG have been able to sign international soccer superstars with exorbitant contracts every year (such as Messi, Neymar and Mbappé) has also not helped to disprove the idea that the club has "unlimited funds" and that it is not following the instructions. rules of financial fair play.