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After trying to block Newcastle takeover, beIN Sports boss now faces trial in TV rights corruption case

2 years ago

Last week, beIN Sports wrote to Premier League clubs, urging them to block the takeover of Newcastle United.

The Qatar based TV network asking the Premier League to block the takeover due to Saudi Arabia allegedly facilitating pirate broadcasting of matches.

As many journalists pointed out at the time, this TV rights dispute / claim is just one small part of an ongoing wider friction between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which has been going on since 2017, when Saudi Arabia, along with Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates severed all ties with Qatar.

The reason given was Qatar allegedly embracing various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilising the region. The Saudi led quartet closed off airspace, territorial waters and land borders to Qatar.

Now the subject of Qatar, beIN Sports and TV rights has now taken another twist on Tuesday.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi is the chairman of the beIN Media Group, which include beIN Sports, he is also the chairman of Qatar Sports Investments and president of PSG, a major player when it comes to politics, power and sports / sports rights in Qatar.

Now on Tuesday the justice system in Switzerland has announced that the beIN Sports chairman will stand trial in September, in a corruption case involving…TV rights.

The beIN Sports boss accused of giving ‘inappropriate gifts’ to a FIFA official, in return for helping to secure broadcasting rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups, as well as other events.

Daily Nation report:

‘Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Fifa’s former secretary general Jerome Valcke will be tried in September in a corruption case linked to the attribution of broadcasting rights, the Swiss judiciary said Tuesday.

The two will be tried in the southeastern Swiss city of Bellinzona along with a third, unnamed man, for criminal mismanagement, incitement to criminal mismanagement, falsifying documents and corruption, the federal criminal court said.

Al-Khelaifi, who is also the boss of Qatari television channel beIN Sports, is suspected of giving inappropriate gifts to Valcke in order to secure broadcast rights to prestigious events, including the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.

In exchange, Valcke, formerly ex-Fifa boss Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man, gained, among other things, rent-free access to a luxury property on the Italian island of Sardinia.’


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