By Tony Attwood
The English media is now constantly packed with anti-Super League articles, suggesting that those involved in Super League II (the enlarged version) are unworthy of being involved in football, being crooks, criminals, deviants or simply not very good chaps. Quite why the media is so uniformly anti-Super League is not clear, but it is just possible that someone with a lot of money has been pointing owners and editors in a certain direction (although I have no proof of such underhand dealings).
But it might be a bit of an embarrassment to the anti-Super League English media, to find the overall leader of the anti-super league movement, the boss of PSG (the one big club that was left out of Super League when it was first proposed, and a very leading protagonist in the anti-Super League world) is, accused of kidnapping, sequestration of funds and torture.
So embarrassing that it is not surprising that while the affair is making big headlines all over Europe, the newspapers in England won’t touch it.
To give but one an example here is the headline (translated of course) from today’s edition of 20min: Investigation opened against the boss of PSG, accused of torture
And you really can’t get clearer than that. Now if you follow Untold regularly you will know that, unlike the English media, we constantly focus on the issues, our most recent piece being The real battle in football behind super league v Uefa is about to start just a few days back. That piece has links to our earlier enquiries into the man and his doings.
However as a bit of background in case you have missed any of the debate so far, Nasser bin Ghanim Al-Khelaifi is Qatari, chairman of the European Club Association and is on the organising committee of the FIFA Club World Cup, is the chairman of beIN Media Group, which runs football TV across much of Europe and the middle east, chairman of the rather secretive Qatar Sports Investments, president of Paris Saint-Germain and is as big as they come in the world of tennis too. He is the man to whom the whole of the English media is currently bending the knee as they praise Fifa and Uefa and criticise the attempt by clubs across Europe (but not in England it seems) to extricate themselves from the control of Uefa and in effect the control of Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
And now the French department of justice has opened an investigation headed by three investigating judges into accusations of kidnapping, sequestration and torture organised by the very same Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.
Indeed rumours about the issue have been circulating for some time, but of course, one has to be very cautious about reporting rumours for fear of legal action. But now it seems things are on the move and the story is all over the media in Europe.
The complainant in the case was arrested in January 2020 in Qatar where he had been living for three months, working as a lobbyist. He claims he was incarcerated and tortured for six months, and then placed under house arrest until allowed to leave November of that year having been forced to sign a confidentiality agreement in which he undertook not to reveal information about Nasser Al-Khelaïfi.
Questions being raised by the media in Europe also relate to the 2015 Fifa corruption case in which 18 individuals and two corporations have been indicted, including nine Fifa officials and five businessmen. This was the case in which the Swiss public TV channel SRF revealed that Sepp Blatter offered the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup rights in North America for US$600,000, a small fraction of their market value, to Torneos & Traffic.. That company has been found to be involved in corrupt practices in the acquisition of rights to major South American football tournaments
In 2015, United States federal prosecutors disclosed cases of corruption by officials and associates connected with Fifa and the Emir of Qatar Tamim ben Hamad Al Thani, linked to the organization of the World Cup in Qatar or the allocation of TV rights, according to a note from the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) and the General Inspectorate of National Police (IGPN).
There is bound to be more, and I’ll try and keep the story up to date.
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