He has been a powerful figure in football through his status and wealth.
Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the man behind Qatar’s global sports investments, is most famously the owner of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), and also the leader of European clubs fighting the Super League Rebellion.
Al Khelaifi, a Sky News World Cup correspondent, said the following:
- To further their agendas, European politicians have been criticizing the FIFA tournament
- Doha is ready for bigger events such as the Olympics
- Qatar should be considered if UEFA wants to host club showpiece events in Europe.
- PSG does not have the option to free-agent Cristiano Rorolo, but everyone wants to try to sign England’s sensation Jude Bellingham
Sky News’ Mr Al-Khelaifi commented on Bellingham, 19-year-old, who lit up the World Cup and led England to a quarter-final match with France. He’s a great player and England is lucky to have him.
“Amazing, you see his first World Cup. He is calm and relaxed.
Bellingham scored once and set up 2 goals in 4 appearances in Qatar.
When asked if PSG’s recruiting team would sign him from Borussia Dortmund Mr Al-Khelaifi replied: “Everyone wants to him. It’s not something I will hide.
“But I respect that he’s in the club and, respect, if we wish to speak to him, we first talk to them.”
Since 2011, Mr Al-Khelaifi’s purchase of PSG and the use of Qatar’s gas-funded wealth for signing stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi, Mr Al-Khelaifi is well-known.
When asked about Ronaldo’s signing after his departure from Manchester United Mr Al-Khelaifi replied: “The three players we have [Messi Neymar, and Mbappe]], it’s very difficult but I wish him all of the best. He is still an incredible player and is fantastic.
Qatar is now the world’s most important country, thanks to its hosting of the first Middle East World Cup.
However, there are concerns over anti-LGBTQ+ laws as well as the suffering of low-paid migrants. This has led to criticism from politicians and teams in Europe.
British sports minister Stuart Andrew wore an armband and rainbow tie at the England-Wales group stage clash last week. Prime Minister Rishi Unak tweeted praise for Qatar, saying: “Hats off Qatar for hosting an amazing World Cup.”
When asked about British reactions, Mr Al-Khelaifi stated to Sky News that “politicians” want to use the sport in order to promote themselves and achieve their goals.
They will fail. They will not succeed, because sport is just sport and nothing to do politics. What we are doing in Qatar is purely sport and football. All politicians want to make this work for their agenda. They all failed.
Qatar’s investments in sports can be seen as a political power project. It uses the gas wealth to increase its status and influence.
“We must be proud today, and shout it loudly that our country is proud,” Al-Khelaifi replied.
With the 2036 Games still to be held, could an Olympic bid be next?
Qatar is ready to host a larger event. He said that you can see the infrastructure and the organisation.
Doha could also be used for large European club football matches. UEFA is open for the Champions League final to be held outside Europe, or a new four-team Super Cup to start the season.
“We didn’t talk about it,” stated Mr Al-Khelaifi (chairman of the European Club Association, and member of UEFA’s executive committee).
“But why not?” To bring the Champions League to outside, not only in Doha, but also outside the US in Asia…to develop the competition.”
He said, “It’s great to explore and expand fans with other market.”