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Former FIFA official Valcke faces bribery case appeal in Swiss court

BELLINZONA: Former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and Qatari sports and broadcasting executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi go on trial on Monday (Mar 7) in the appeals court of Switzerland's federal criminal court, in a bribery case involving World Cup media rights.

Valcke, who was secretary general of the world football body from 2007 to 2015, was cleared in 2020 of accepting bribes and aggravated criminal mismanagement, but Swiss prosecutors have appealed the ruling.

Valcke was sentenced at the time to a suspended monetary penalty for forging documents.

Al-Khelaifi, chairman of Qatar-based media group BeIN Sports and chairman of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club (PSG), as well as a third defendant, a Greek businessman, were cleared of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement - a verdict prosecutors also appealed.

The advantages Valcke allegedly received, including the rent-free use of a villa owned by Al-Khelaifi in Sardinia and payments from the Greek businessman, were linked to the awarding of media rights for FIFA World and Confederations Cups.

In the 2020 trial, the court said Valcke did receive undue advantages but the media contracts Al-Khelaifi's company signed with FIFA, a party in the case, were nevertheless financially attractive for FIFA.

Bribery charges against Al-Khelaifi were dropped ahead of the 2020 trial after FIFA reached an agreement with Al-Khelaifi.

Both Valcke and Al-Khelaifi, who is also a member of European football body UEFA's executive committee, have denied any wrongdoing.

Valcke, aged 61, has been banned from all football-related activity until mid-2032 by FIFA's ethics committee for violating its ethics code.

Source: Reuters/fh

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