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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

PSG president Al-Khelaifi among sport’s most influential in the world

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The prominent Qatari figure was reelected last year to UEFA’s executive committee as its European Club Association (ECA) representative.

The chairman of beIN Media Group and President of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) Nasser Al-Khelaifi has been named as one of the most influential figures in international sport as part of SportsPro’s (SP) prestigious “Ten Influencers 2022” list, released on Sunday.

“Indeed, there are plenty of plates to be spun. If 2021 was the year that Al-Khelaifi seized even more power, then 2022 will be about finding out how he intends to use it,” read a statement by SP.

Al-Khelaifi was positioned at the top of the annual list, which also included “human rights activists, crypto magnates, and sport-facing Gulf statesmen”.

Commenting on Al-Khelaifi’s achievements, SP commended his decision to add football legend Lionel Messi to PSG after leaving FC Barcelona in August last year in tearful farewell.

“It was then [2021] that Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari chairman of Ligue 1 giants [PSG], brought , perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time, into a league to which his broadcasting company beIN Media Group also holds the television rights in several markets,” said SP.

The UK-based media outlet went on to laud Al-Khelaifi for his firm stance against joining the controversial “Super League” last year, which had the potential to drastically reshape the European football’s landscape.

His stance earned him praise from football fans and leaders alike.

“A central figure in the ongoing struggle for power at the highest level of soccer, the 48-year old was among those to rally against the short-lived formation of a breakaway super league, a stance that later saw him elevated to the role of chairman at the [ECA],” said SP.

Furthermore, the SP noted that Al-Khelaifi’s role at the UEFA executive committee following his reelection as its ECA representative until 2024, will further exhibit his leadership skills throughout the year.

PSG’s Nasser Al-Khelaifi re-elected to UEFA executive committee

“That job [position at ECA], coupled with his position on the Uefa executive committee, will no doubt give Al-Khelaifi a significant say in the shape of European soccer moving forward – a task likely to involve protecting PSG’s interests from those of the remaining rebel super league clubs,” added SP.

Al-Khelaifi’s life

Before joining the media industry, Al-Khelaifi led a successful career as a professional tennis player at the Davis Cup for Qatar.

It was not until 2003 when he entered the media world as Director of Rights Acquisitions for Al Jazeera Sport. Then in 2008, he was promoted to General Manager of the Qatari-based sports broadcaster and was made the chairman of Qatar Sports Investments.

Following the transformation of Al Jazeera Sport into beIN Sports in 2014, Al-Khelaifi contributed to the channel’s significant growth.

The chairman oversaw the launch of beIN Sports MENA, beIN Sports France, beIN Sports Americas, beIN Sports Asia-Pacific, beIN Sports Australia, and beIN Sports Spain.

Later in 2016, Al-Khelaifi acquired prominent Hollywood film studio Miramax.

Beyond his role as PSG’s president and chairman of beIN Sports, Al-Khelaifi is also the president of Qatar Sports Investments (QSI), the Qatar Tennis Federation (QTF), the Qatar Squash Foundation (QSF), and vice president of the Asian Tennis Federation for West Asia (ATF).

Prior to this latest ranking on the SP’s list, French premier footballing magazine, L’Equipe named him as “the most powerful man in French football” in 2016.

Then in 2020, he was named the most influential person in football by France Football.


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