National Post (Latest Edition) - - DIVERSIONS -

Nasser al- Khe­laifi, a Qatari busi­ness­man who has grown to be­come one of the most prom­i­nent fig­ures in soc­cer, was ac­cused Thurs­day by Swiss au­thor­i­ties of brib­ing for­mer FIFA gen­eral sec­re­tary Jerome Val­cke in re­turn for lu­cra­tive World Cup soc­cer con­tracts. Al-Khe­laifi, pic­tured, a lead­ing fig­ure in Qatar’s multi­bil­lion-dol­lar push into global sports, is chair­man of the Paris Saint- Ger­main soc­cer team and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the beIN Me­dia Group, a Doha-based tele­vi­sion net­work that the Swiss ac­cuse of brib­ing Val­cke, who is serv­ing a 10-year ban from world soc­cer. In its state­ment, the Swiss at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice said it opened a case in March against al-Khe­laifi, Val­cke and an uniden­ti­fied busi­ness­man on sus­pi­cion of bribery, fraud and crim­i­nal mis­man­age­ment. News of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion of Val­cke and al-Khe­laifi is the lat­est blow to world soc­cer, an in­dus­try that has been in cri­sis since U.S. au­thor­i­ties in 2015 an­nounced an in­dict­ment that charged some of the sport’s big­gest power-bro­kers with in­volve­ment in a cor­rup­tion scheme that dated back more than two decades.

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