Former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke has denied allegations he received “undue advantages” from Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection with awarding media rights for future World Cups.
Al-Khelaifi is also the chief executive of Qatari broadcaster beIN Media. Valcke spoke to French daily L’Equipe (h/t Sky Sports) to deny any wrongdoing in granting television rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups:
“I just want to say that it’s not true. I have never done that. I have never received anything in exchange for anything.
“I refute the accusations against me or Nasser. I have received nothing from Nasser, I can assure you. There was never any exchange between Nasser and I. Never.”
The Swiss attorney general’s office (OAG) announced on Thursday that both Valcke and Al-Khelaifi were under investigation over those media rights, per the Guardian‘s David Conn.
Conn’s report explained beIN Sports has purchased the rights to broadcast fixtures from the 2026 and 2030 World Cups in north Africa and the Middle East, although he added Valcke’s involvement runs further than that:
David Conn @david_conn
Alleged criminal bribery of ex Fifa sec gen Valcke for World Cup TV rights suspected for the 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 tournaments.
After the Paris offices of beIN Media were searched on Thursday in connection with the bribery allegations, the company released a statement, provided by Conn: “beIN refutes all accusations made by OAG. The company will fully cooperate with the authorities and is confident as to the future developments of the investigation.”
Valcke was FIFA general secretary from June 2007 to September 2015 but was stood down from the role due to links in to corruption. BBC Sport explained United States prosecutors alleged Valcke had knowledge of a $ 10 million bribe to secure the 2010 World Cup for South Africa.
Al-Khelaifi has served as president and chairman of PSG since 2011—the year the club was purchased by Qatar Sports Investments (QSI)—during which time they have largely dominated French football.
Tariq Panja of the New York Times also recently referred to previous business links between Valcke’s family and Al-Khelaifi:
tariq panja @tariqpanja
Interesting line in this Le Monde story that Valcke’s son was a paid employee of PSG in 2013 https://t.co/MBCfWWRFRE
PSG are already under investigation by European football’s governing body, UEFA. The Independent’s Luke Brown reported this summer’s extravagant spending of more than £200 million on world-record signing Neymar, as well as the future £166 million purchase of Kylian Mbappe, could breach Financial Fair Play rules.
According to Conn’s report, criminal proceedings have also been opened against an “unnamed figure in the sports rights business,” who is said to have also bribed Valcke.
Valcke is already serving a 10-year ban from football in relation to the role he played in recent FIFA scandals, per BBC Sport.