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Athletics

PSG supremo Al-Khelaifi charged with corruption over Doha athletics event

Nasser Al-Khelaifi faces questions over payments connected with the 2019 world championships in Doha.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi faces questions over payments connected with the 2019 world championships in Doha. AFP/Nelson Almeida

Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the boss of Paris Saint-Germain football club and of the Qatari television channel BeIn Sports, was on Thursday charged with corruption in connection with the bidding process for this year's world athletics championships in Doha.

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Al-Khelaifi, who has been under investigation since March, might not face a trial. However prosecutors say they believe there is strong or corroborated evidence of wrongdoing.

Investigators are looking at two payments of around 3 million euros in 2011 by Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, a company jointly owned by Al-Khelaifi and his brother Khalid, to a sports marketing firm run by Papa Massata Diack.

Papa Massata's father, Lamine Diack, was formerly president of world athletics governing body, the International Association of Athletics Federatons. Lamine Diack was also a member of the International Olympic Committee.

Doha was in the running to host the 2017 world athletics championships. But it lost out to London.

However the Qatari capital won the right to host the 2019 event ahead of Eugene in the United States and the Catalan city of Barcelona.

Another BeIn Sports executive, Yousef Al-Obaidly, a PSG board member, is also under investigation by French judges over the awarding of the 2019 world championships to Qatar.

As well as probing the worlds, the French investigation is also examining circumstances in which the Olympic Games were awarded to Rio de Janeiro for 2016 and Tokyo for 2020.

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