The Rise of Nasser al-Khelaïfi

The official grandstand of the Grand Stade de Marrakech looks like Fouquet’s. On the ground, the friendly match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Inter Milan, organized on December 30 in the middle of the winter break, does not promise anything exciting. The French gotha ​​of business and politics, on vacation in the surroundings, is nevertheless there: Nicolas Sarkozy, on holiday with King Mohammed VI, Dominique Desseigne, the boss of the Barrière Casinos, Ramzi Khiroun, the leader of Lagardère’s external relations , or the former Minister of Ecology Jean-Louis Borloo.

About fifteen minutes before kick-off, a pressing circle is formed around a man: Nasser al-Khelaïfi , who distributes the handshakes, a generous smile on his lips. A little away, the boss of GDF Suez, Gérard Mestrallet, stands up, waiting to be presented to the CEO of PSG by its communications advisor, Jean-Martial Ribes. These formalities carried out, Al-Khelaïfi file in a discreet box where took refuge the emir of Qatar, sheikh Tamim. You can visit for a complete briefing about him.

Multiple caps

Still anonymous four years ago, before Doha’s takeover of the Paris club, Nasser al-Khelaïfi has become a prominent personality, with whom we like to show off. ” A very powerful man , ” admits one of his rare French friends, Arnaud Lagardère . At only 41 years old, the Qatari multiplies hats, and not the least. In addition to PSG, which he says he wants to make a mark worth” 1 billion d ‘euros’ , he chairs the board of Qatar Sports Investments , a fund with almost unlimited resources which owns the PSG and the equipment supplier Burrda. You can visit for a complete briefing about him.

His teams also looked closely at two multi-billion dollar American sports marketing giants, AEG and IMG . Nasser al-Khelaïfi also heads BeIn Media Group , from which the BeIn Sports channels come. Present in more than 30 countries, in the Arab world, in the United States, in France and in Australia, this recent conglomerate aims to become one of the three largest audiovisual sports networks on the planet, like Sky or ESPN. ” It’s Qatari-style,” says a relative. ” When you succeed, you stack the functions.”

VIP fans

Such a CV does not fail to arouse a few genuflections. ” Many business leaders want to see him and ask him to intervene in Qatar,” admits an adviser. In another genre, after a match in late October, the president of the Professional Football League (LFP), Frédéric Thiriez, discreetly apologized – but not enough to escape the cameras – to him for the ” terrible arbitration” reserved at PSG.

Paid in part by BeIn Sports and taking full advantage of the PSG effect, French football owes a lot to “Nasser”, whose all club presidents sing the praises. ” I love him very much, because he’s a superiorly intelligent guy who now speaks a lot of French,” said Montpellier’s Louis Nicollin , “he was just a good guy.”

Among the fans of Nasser al-Khelaïfi, he is a great supporter of the PSG who, by dint of frequenting him at the Carré, the VIP stand of the Parc des Princes, fell in love with him: Nicolas Sarkozy. Evidence of this proximity, the former President of the Republic invited him to his home in late January to celebrate his 60th birthday. “He advises him in a friendly way, says an unnamed media boss. I was surprised, during two business meetings with Nasser, one by phone and the other at the Park, find myself also talking to Sarkozy, who was next to him. “