Soccer: Valcke denies receiving 'undue advantages' from Al-Khelaifi

French former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke looks on outside the Court of Arbitration for Sport prior to his appeal over his 10-year ban from football

French former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke looks on outside the Court of Arbitration for Sport prior to his appeal over his 10-year ban from football

"It is suspected that Jerome Valcke accepted undue advantages from a businessman in the sports rights sector in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2018, 2022, 2026 and 2030 and from Nasser Al-Khelaifi in connection with the award of media rights for certain countries at the FIFA World Cups in 2026 and 2030", Switzerland's Office of the Attorney General (OAG) said on Thursday.

Italian police said Friday they seized the luxury property in Sardinia they claim Nasser al-Khelaifi, who is also president of Paris Saint-Germain, made available to former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke.

The world football body's Ethics Commission "opened a preliminary investigation into Nasser al-Khelaifi on Thursday evening", a FIFA spokesman said.

Valcke's lawyer denied any wrongdoing, telling AFP his client had paid rent for the villa.

Several people "linked to various titles to the company that owns the villa" have been questioned, police added.

"There was a contract and Mr Valcke paid the rent", Stephane Ceccaldi said.

Prosecutors have indicated that Khelaifi was under suspicion only for actions taken as the head of the beIN group, which operates on five continents.

The OAG said the investigation relates to "bribery of private individuals, fraud, criminal mismanagement and forgery of a document".

In March last year, the OAG said Valcke was suspected of criminal mismanagement and other offences.

The new proceeding has been opened primarily on the basis of findings obtained by the OAG in this earlier proceeding. BBC Sport explained United States prosecutors alleged Valcke had knowledge of a $10 million bribe to secure the 2010 World Cup for South Africa.

Both Al-Khelaifi and Valcke, as well as an unidentified businessman, are the subject of criminal proceedings as part of an investigation being conducted with the assistance of authorities in France, Greece, Italy and Spain.

As a result, he was sacked by FIFA and banned from football for a period of 12 years in January 2016, which was reduced to 10 years in June.

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