Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is under investigation into the alleged kidnapping and torture of a lobbyist in Qatar, according to French newspaper L’Équipe (h/t Goal’s James Hunsley).
Tayeb Benabderrahmane said he was detained in Qatar in January 2020 and subsequently held in confinement for six months before being placed under house arrest. The French-Algerian lobbyist said he had “sensitive” documents related to Qatar being awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup along with beIN Media winning the bid to air the tournament in 2026 and 2030.
Al-Khelaifi is the chairman of beIN Media.
Benabderrahmane said he signed a confidentiality agreement that allowed him to leave Qatar in November 2020.
Al-Khelaifi denied the allegations in a statement to UK newspaper The Sun (h/t Hunsley), calling them “the ultimate media manipulation.”
“I’m just amazed so many people have taken their lies and contradictions as credible—but that’s the media world we’re in today,” he said. “Justice will run its course—I don’t have time to talk about petty professional criminals.”
Many were shocked when Qatar was awarded the 2022 World Cup. Allegations of corruption in the 2010 bidding process sparked a wider inquiry into FIFA, which resulted in multiple FIFA officials indicted.
Last June, a Swiss court cleared Al-Khelaifi of any wrongdoing in connection to former FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke using his vacation home on multiple instances between 2013 and 2015.
Al-Khelaifi has become an influential figure within European soccer. In addition to his duties at PSG, the 49-year-old was elected to UEFA’s executive committee in 2019, and he was appointed as chairman for the European Club Association in 2021.
Who is Nasser AL-Khelaifi?
Nasser Al-Khelaïfi is Chairman and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain. The Qatari is also chairman of beIN Media Group, QSI and DIGITURK. A former professional tennis player, Al-Khelaïfi is the president of the Qatar Tennis Squash and Badminton Federation. In France Nasser sits on the board of the French Professional Football League and on a European level is a member of UEFA’s Executive Committee and is the ECA Chairman (European Club Association).
Born 12 November 1973 in Doha, Ad Dawdah (Qatar).
- →Chairman and CEO of Paris Saint-Germain ;
- →Chairman BeIn Media Group, owners of beIN SPORTS, MIRAMAX and Digiturk;
- →Chairman of QSI;
- →Board Member, Qatar Investment Authority, French Professional Football League and Premier Padel;
- →President of the Qatar (Padel) Tennis, Squash and Badminton Federation;
- →Chairman of ECA;
- →Member of UEFA Executive Committee.
According to PSG official website, when Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) acquired PSG in 2011, Nasser Al-Khelaifi was named the club’s 17th president. Under Al-Khelaifi’s leadership, a clear strategic plan was established to develop the club into a major player on the European and international football stage, while being a force for good off-the-pitch.
Over the subsequent few years, PSG was propelled to the top of men’s football, both in France and in Europe, winning 8 out of 10 domestic league titles and – in August 2020 – reaching the final of the men’s UEFA Champions League for the first time in the club’s 50-year history. With Al-Khelaifi at the helm, the club has also developed its women’s football team – Paris Saint-Germain Féminines – which is now a leading force in Europe; and Paris Handball Club who have been champions of Ligue Nationale de Handball Division 1 every season since 2015. Finally in 2017 Nasser Al-Khelaifi also established PSG Judo continuing the club’s expansion in sport.
While sporting success is key, Nasser’s Al Khelaifi’s recognition of the club’s supporters and the wider community of Paris off-the-pitch has also been of critical importance to the club’s development. Al Khelaifi is proud to spearhead the invaluable work of the Paris Saint-Germain Foundation, whose fundraising has tripled under Al-Khelaifi’s tenure. The Foundation strives to help disadvantaged children in France and abroad, working with NGOs, schools and other organisations all around the world. Since 2000, almost a quarter of a million children have benefited from the Foundation’s work. At the same time, the club has invested enormously in the infrastructure of Paris, from the stadium to the training facilities and a range of community-led projects.
Further, as one of the world’s leading international sports businessmen, Nasser Al-Khelaifi has also turned the club around commercially, forging innovative partnerships with major international brands such as Air Jordan. The club is now seen as both a football brand and a fashion brand, while its fan base internationally has grown enormously. Today, PSG has become a truly global brand, proudly representing Paris and its people on the international stage, while being the hallmark of excellence in France.
The views and opinions expressed in the preceding text are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Coverpage.