PSG President Al-Khelaifi Denies Corruption Allegations

Published May 23rd, 2019 - 12:54 GMT
 The Qatari's representative asserts the accusations he paid a €3.1 million bribe are totally false
The Qatari's representative asserts the accusations he paid a €3.1 million bribe are totally false

Nasser Al-Khelaifi's lawyer has denied an allegation of corruption against his client relating to the hosting rights for the World Athletics Championships.

According to reports in France, the Paris Saint-Germain president is accused of validating an illicit payment of €3.1 million (£2.7m/3.5m) to help Doha's bid to stage the finals in 2017.

However, his lawyer, Francis Szpiner, has described the allegations as "totally inaccurate".

"Nasser Al-Khelaifi's name does not appear on any of the documents in the file," Szpiner told Le Parisien in reference to a case compiled by investigating judge Renaud van Ruymbeke in Paris.

"It should be noted that Nasser Al-Khelaifi's initial hearing was only the result of a regrettable confusion by the investigating magistrate," Szpiner added, with Al-Khelaifi having voluntarily appeared before a judicial inquiry investigating the case in March.

"Nasser Al-Khelaifi has never been operationally involved in Doha's bid for the World Athletics Championships."

Van Ruymbeke was investigating Russian doping in athletics when he reportedly found evidence of payments made to disgraced former International Association of Athletics Federations president Lamine Diack.

Qatar was unsuccessful in bids for the 2017 event, which was held in London, and the 2020 Olympics, but won the right to host the 2019 World Athletics Championships, which are due to take place between September 28 and October 6.

The 2017 World Championships eventually saw the last track race of sprinting legend Usain Bolt, who later went on o have a trial with A-League side Central Coast Mariners.

But there was no fairytale farewell for Bolt as he finished third in the 100 meters final at London Stadium, losing out to Americans Justin Gatlin and Christian Coleman, and pulled up injured in the 4x100 meters relay.

That proved to be the Jamaican's last appearance on the track, and it could have taken place in Doha had the allegedly Nasser-backed 2017 bid been successful.

Nasser became president and CEO of PSG in 2011 and his investment has helped secure a number of big-money signings, including the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The Qatari's support has brought about domination of Ligue 1 and a Champions League title remains a target.

By Joe Wright

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