Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi is confident that his name will be cleared once another investigation into allegations of bribery has been completed.
The Qatari businessman stands accused of having colluded with former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke to manipulate the distribution of media rights for events such as the World Cup and Confederations Cup.
The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has charged those at the center of a long-running scandal with criminal offences.
Al-Khelaifi has, however, faced similar legal battles before and expects his innocence to be proven and any claims of wrongdoing to be dropped.
He said in a statement released on the back of OAG’s announcement: “After an exhaustive three-year investigation, where I have fully and openly cooperated with the Public Prosecutor in Switzerland, I am pleased that all charges of bribery in connection with the 2026 and 2030 World Cups have been dropped.
“As I have said vehemently and repeatedly for three years, the charges have not – and have never had – any basis whatsoever, either in fact or law.
“It is now – finally – indisputable fact that the 2026 and 2030 agreements were negotiated at arms lengths and without any improper influence in any form.
“After the most forensic public, private, lawful and unlawful scrutiny of all my dealings, I have been cleared of all suspicions of bribery and the case has been dismissed definitively and conclusively.
“While a secondary technical charge remains outstanding, I have every expectation that this will be proven completely groundless and without any substance whatsoever, in the same way as the primary case.
“While I have cooperated with all authorities during the legal process, the three-year investigation has been characterized by constant leaks, misinformation and a seemingly relentless agenda to smear my reputation in the media – completely irrespective of the facts and the notion of due process.
“For that reason, I have requested the relevant Swiss authorities to open a criminal enquiry into the conduct of the investigation.
“I also reserve the right to take action against certain media who for three years have repeatedly published factually-unsupported and highly damaging articles, often based on illegally-sourced and – quite remarkably in some cases – faked and fabricated materials, to satisfy their narrative of my supposed guilt.”
By Chris Burton