Paris Saint-Germain chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi has brushed apart criticism of the Qatar World Cup, telling CNN that he believes the event has been “excellent.”
In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, the Qatari businessman, who can be chairman of worldwide sports activities and leisure broadcaster, beIN Media Group, pushed again on feedback by former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who described the Qatar occasion as “a mistake.”
“I really feel actually [it is] unfair to listen to this each time from individuals as a result of each single particular person, actually, followers, media, accomplice, proper holders, you see the most effective World Cup ever. We’ve got every little thing,” Al-Khelaifi mentioned.
The PSG chaiman additionally instructed Anderson that he believes media criticism of the nation was all the way down to the truth that many had not visited Qatar.
“One of many largest media [has] requested me to do an interview for years,” he mentioned. “And I say, ‘I’m not going to do any interview till you come to Qatar.’
“‘You go to something, wherever you need after which I’ll do the interview.’ And so they have been adverse earlier than, belief me. After which they got here right here … They’re in love with Qatar.”
Al-Khelaifi additionally instructed Anderson that PSG is open to promoting a stake of as much as 15% within the membership.
Qatari sovereign wealth fund QSI, which Al-Khelaifi additionally chairs, just lately valued the French soccer big, house to star gamers together with Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé, and Neymar Jr. at over $4 billion.
“We’re open to promote minority shares, strategic shares,” he mentioned.
“I feel it’s nice for the membership and it’s proved additionally that we’re doing unbelievable job within the membership. I imply, we purchased it for round 70 million … So is it [a] good funding?”
QSI took management of PSG in 2011. Within the intervening 11 years, the boys’s group has gained a complete of 28 trophies, together with eight Ligue 1 titles. Nevertheless, the membership has but to win the Champions League, although PSG did attain the 2020 last earlier than dropping to Bayern.
The 49-year-old instructed Anderson that PSG would need any potential bidder to share a long-term dedication to the membership.
“It relies upon [on] the proprietor, to be trustworthy,” he mentioned. “Some homeowners, they’ve a strategic, long-term mission like us, others simply wish to money out, [a] short-term funding fund, develop the model, restructure the membership, after which resell it.
“We love soccer, nevertheless it’s additionally funding initiatives.”
Al-Khelaifi was among the many most distinguished opponents of the latest try to kind a brand new European Tremendous League by a number of the continent’s wealthiest golf equipment.
The 49-year-old instructed Anderson that he stays against the concept, however just isn’t in opposition to different adjustments.
“I feel that’s not truthful for the small and medium golf equipment. You’ll want to depart the hope open for everyone, followers, golf equipment, homeowners. You realize what I imply? That is ridiculous … the concept of [a] Tremendous League,” he defined.
“I’m not saying in opposition to any adjustments. In fact, I wish to play extra matches in European stage too. I’m not hiding it, proper.
“However I feel there have to be very clear open leagues and that’s what we’re doing in ’24. I feel this format might be unbelievable,” added Al-Khelaifil, referring to the enlargement of the Champions League in 2024, when the competitors will improve from 32 to 36 groups.
The Qatari additionally sits on the board of UEFA, and Al-Khelaifi instructed Anderson that he believes the group is doing “an incredible job” to “shield everyone.”
“We’ve got the ecosystem of soccer. It’s not nearly 12 golf equipment or eight golf equipment or 4 golf equipment,” he mentioned. “These golf equipment, they wish to be solely within the stage. They don’t need anyone compete in opposition to them. Is that this truthful? By no means.”
With three of the World Cup’s largest stars on its books, PSG has a specific curiosity within the event. All three have been topic to hypothesis over their futures amid frequent switch rumors.
Al-Khelaifi instructed Anderson that PSG has a two-year contract with Messi, however will talk about his subsequent steps after the event ends.
“I’m so happy with him, what he has performed with our membership, what he provides to the membership and he’s so pleased on the membership.
“After the World Cup we going to start out that dialogue,” he mentioned. “We [will] see what’s the most effective for each.
However undoubtedly if … the mutual curiosity and we would like him to remain and he needs to remain, then he’ll keep. If one in all us doesn’t need, then he’ll transfer on.”
He additionally pushed again on any suggestion that Mbappé is dissatisfied on the membership.
“Are you able to see him? He’s pleased, he’s. I imply, he’s scoring targets and really aggressive, very skilled. So he’s French and initially from Paris, so he’s Parisian.”
Brazil star Neymar injured his ankle in his nation’s opening World Cup match in opposition to Serbia. Al-Khelaifi instructed Anderson he anticipated the star to be okay for the event’s knock-out phases, however that he wants referees to offer him extra safety.
“I feel he might be okay for Spherical 16. He’s injured, he’s actually unfortunate. I really feel sorry for him,” he mentioned.
“He’s an incredible expertise and the world want to guard him so the followers can take pleasure in Neymar within the World Cup.”