The Long Journey of Nasser Al- Khelaïfi

Who is behind Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, the discreet president of PSG? He is the son of a pearl fisherman. Considered today one of the symbols of football business, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi however did not really bathe, child, in the business world. He comes from a line of pearl fishermen in Qatar.

Tennis and The man

Passionate about tennis, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi was a professional player during the 1990s. Ranked at the ATP, he reached 995th place in the world in 2002 before retiring from the circuit with a record of 28 victories for 73 defeats. Before that, he also represented Qatar numerous times in the Davis Cup, mainly in groups 2 and 3 of the competition.

  • In the early 2000s, the Qatari selection also came to train for several years in a row in France, on the Côte d’Azur. At the time, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi was even dismissed for three years from the Tennis Club Nice Giordan , with which he participated in team competitions.
  • It was during this modest tennis career that Nasser Al-Khelaïfi became friends with Tamim al-Thani, at the time also a member of the Qatar national team but also and above all the crown prince of the Emir of Qatar. 

A meeting that changed the trajectory of Al-Khelaifi

Through training, travel, the two men become very close. “This meeting changed his trajectory, believes his cousin Majed Al-Klifi, in a report by the Team in April 2017. The sheikh bet on Nasser in a way, he saw that he could count on him”.

Armed with this diploma, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi is then propelled by Tamim al-Thani to prestigious positions: president of the Qatari Tennis Federation, then director of the Al-Jazeera Sports channel and the Qatar Sports Investment investment fund (QSI). In a few years, he becomes a real man of power, at the service of his country, Qatar.

What Happened in 2003

In 2003, Al-Khelaïfi decided to embark on the purchase of TV rights. He then contacted a certain Thierry Morano, a French entrepreneur whom he had met a few years earlier. “He said to me ‘My prince wants to buy the TV rights for Spanish football, do you know anyone?’, Morano told the Le Monde newspaper in 2011. With a third partner, Ivan Blum, the two men joined forces and invest in broadcasting rights for Spanish football, Roland Garros.

The rise of Nasser Al-Khelaifi continued in 2011 with the takeover by QSI of Paris Saint-Germain , until then in the hands of Colony Capital. Crown Prince Al-Thani, who will become emir in 2013, appoints him president. In this position, Al-Khelaïfi will quickly gain unanimous support inside and outside the club. You can visit for a complete briefing about him.

The Present Situation

If the current goes well between Nasser Al-Khelaifi and most of the other presidents of French clubs, his relation is much less cordial with Jean-Michel Aulas, the boss of Olympique Lyonnais. For several years, the latter has continued to attack the Parisian club, accusing it of “killing” Ligue 1 through huge investments, criticizing Qatari taxation or even judging “indecent” the severance pay granted to Laurent Blanc in 2015.

Skillful and diplomatic, Nasser Al-Khelaifi has woven, over time, bonds of trust and friendship with Nicolas Sarkozy, former President of the Republic and big fan of PSG . The two men are regularly found in the “basket” of the Parc des Princes, but not only. When Sarkozy celebrated his 60th birthday two years ago, for example, Nasser Al-Khelaifi was among the guests.

Regarding his family, Nasser Al-Khelaifi does in discretion. We just know that he is married and the father of four children, including a boy, who can sometimes be seen in the stands at the Parc des Princes. The rest of the time, the family of the president of PSG resides in Qatar.