Former FIFA official guilty, PSG head cleared at Swiss trial

PSG chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi leaves the Swiss Federal Criminal Court. (AFP)
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Updated 30 October 2020

Former FIFA official guilty, PSG head cleared at Swiss trial

  • Jérôme Valcke was found guilty of a lesser change of forging documents linked to World Cup broadcasting deals in Italy and Greece
  • PSG president Nasser al-Khelaïfi, who is also a Qatari soccer and television executive, was cleared of a single charge of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement

BELLINZONA, Switzerland:A former high-ranking FIFA official was convicted Friday in a corruption case in Switzerland, while the president of Paris Saint-Germain was acquitted.
Jérôme Valcke was found guilty of a lesser change of forging documents linked to World Cup broadcasting deals in Italy and Greece. He was acquitted of accepting bribes and criminal mismanagement while he was FIFA secretary general from 2007-15.
Valcke was given a 120-day suspended sentence and ordered to pay FIFA 1.75 million euros ($2 million) in restitution. Prosecutors had asked for a three-year sentence.
PSG president Nasser al-Khelaïfi, who is also a Qatari soccer and television executive, was cleared of a single charge of inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.
That charge was linked to Valcke’s use of a vacation home in Italy about six years ago. At the time, FIFA renewed World Cup rights in the Middle East and North Africa for Qatari broadcaster beIN Media Group, which is led by al-Khelaïfi.
“Today’s verdict is a total vindication,” al-Khelaïfi said in a statement. “It restores my faith in the rule of law and in due process, after four years of baseless allegations, fictitious charges and constant smears of my reputation.”
Al-Khelaïfi, who is a minister in Qatar’s government and a member of the UEFA executive committee, was not linked to the bribery charge against Valcke.
A third defendant, Greek marketing agency executive Dinos Deris, was acquitted on charges of active corruption with Valcke and inciting him.
Valcke's conviction, albeit on a minor charge, is the first secured by the Swiss prosecutors who began investigating FIFA and international soccer officials six years ago.


Golf Saudi strikes partnership with the Club Managers Association of Europe

Updated 30 November 2020

Golf Saudi strikes partnership with the Club Managers Association of Europe

  • Educational program will be tailored to support Saudis’ career pathway in and through golf

RIYADH: Golf Saudi and the Club Managers Association of Europe (CMAE) have signed an ambitious new partnership to work together to roll out a certified Arabic language educational program. This is the first of its kind, aimed at encouraging Saudi nationals to pursue a career in golf.

CMAE will set up an education platform in Saudi Arabia, drawing on its industry-renowned approach, to assist Golf Saudi in developing the domestic golf talent pool and ultimately creating new Saudi national certified club managers.

The association is a nonprofit making professional body with members involved in the management of sports clubs, health and fitness clubs and leisure, city and dining clubs in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

Commenting on the partnership, CMAE’s director of education, Torbjörn Johansson, said: “Golf Saudi’s pursuit of creating a progressive domestic golf market is asking some big questions of the industry and leading organizations. The domestic plans to not only train up but also equip aspiring talent are a major step and CMAE is proud to be a partner and on-hand to provide the tools and analytic expertise.” 

The CEO of Golf Saudi, Majed Al-Sorour, said: “Our partnership with CMAE is incredibly important for Golf Saudi, but also for the golf industry at large. This is only possible if we are able to upskill our domestic workforce. Golf is good for business and can provide a direct boost to the Kingdom’s GDP, as well as providing lucrative jobs and creating new enterprise. These are exciting times for the golf industry in Saudi Arabia and this agreement with the CMAE helps us to develop a world-class training program that will support young Saudi adults in unlocking the full potential of their future career paths within the golf industry.”

Golf Saudi, a subsidiary of the Saudi Golf Federation, is committed to delivering a national development program that transforms the golfing landscape and aims to create 3,700 jobs by 2030.

Since its formation in 2018, Golf Saudi has embarked on an ambitious national golf strategy, which has worked to support the Kingdom’s impressive Vision 2030. This agreement recognizes the importance of training the next generation of Saudis to meet expected future demand, particularly from international tourists, enhancing Saudi Arabia as a golfing destination.