Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was Friday acquitted by a Swiss court of corruption over the allocation of World Cup TV rights, while former FIFA number two Jerome Valcke was handed a suspended 120-day sentence for a secondary charge.
Al-Khelaifi, the chairman of beIN Media, was cleared of inciting aggravated criminal mismanagement, with Valcke found guilty of a separate charge of forging documents related to the attribution of Italian and Greek World Cup TV rights.
Prosecutors had called for a jail term of three years for Valcke and a 28-month sentence for al-Khelaifi following 10 days of hearings at the Swiss Federal Criminal Court of Bellinzona in September.
They also requested 30 months for Greek businessman Dinos Deris — with partial suspension in all three cases. Deris was found not guilty on a charge of "private corruption".
It was the first judgement handed down in Switzerland, the seat of most international sports organisations, in the 20 or so proceedings opened in the last five years involving FIFA. Two former Latin American football leaders have been jailed in the United States.
"After a relentless four-year campaign against me that ignored the basic facts and the law at every turn, I have finally, fully and completely cleared my name. Today's verdict is a total vindication," Al-Khelaifi said in a statement.
"It restores my faith in the rule of law and in due process, after four years of baseless allegations, fictitious charges and constant smears of my reputation — all of which have been proven to be completely and wholly unsubstantiated."
"I can now devote all my energy to my various roles, which are all focused on building a positive future for world sport — at a time when the industry needs strong leadership the most," he added.