Nasser Al-Khelaifi Named as Most Influential Person in Soccer

France Football

In a formal report due out Tuesday (19 May), France Football has drawn up the Top 50 most powerful people in the soccer world, topped by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the President of Paris Saint-Germain Football Club and Chairman of beIN MEDIA GROUP.

The decision by France Football comes in a competitive, diverse, varied, and changing environment for the sport. 

The list of 50 are not necessarily the people who shout loudest or make the most fuss, but more those whose decisions carry the most weight, including the inevitable leaders of clubs and institutions, fearsome and insatiable agents, star players with huge followings, all-powerful and all-knowing coaches, businessmen whose voices are increasingly heard and politicians who are increasingly present.

 

In world soccer, Nasser Al-Khelaifi ranks at the top of the most powerful people because of the unique reach of his influence. He is a club president (PSG), a broadcasting chairman (beIN MEDIA GROUP) with 55 million subscribers; as well as a minister without portfolio in Qatar, which will organize the next FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Nasser Al-Khelaifi joined PSG nine years ago, transforming the organization into a truly international brand growing the club’s fan base, including seeing an increase in its digital following - from 500,000 in 2011, to more than 87 million today. 

With this honorary distinction, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, reserved as always, did not belabor the point in France Football: "Power for power's sake - the obsessive search for the spotlight - it’s just pure vanity”.

In an interview in Tuesday’s France Football, he talked about Alex Ferguson, the former boss of Manchester United ("his know-how and passion for football are incomparable"), Aleksander Ceferin, the UEFA boss ("a much needed unifying force for European and world football") or Michael Jordan, who he negotiated with for the Parisian business ("not only was he the greatest of all time on court, but he hasn’t stopped since").

Of all the players he met, at PSG and elsewhere, the PSG boss picks out Ibrahimovic ("he forever dependable and also stood up when needed”) and Beckham ("one of the best role models for any young boy or girl who aspires to become a professional athlete") among those who impressed him the most with their ability to unify and offer another dimension. 

Cristiano Ronaldo and Gianni Infantino stand alongside Nasser Al-Khelaifi on this influential podium. Others on the list include major agents (Mendes, Raiola or Zahavi), politicians (Xi Jinping), several players (Messi, Neymar, Sterling, Salah, Mbappé and Rapinoe), coaches (Klopp, Guardiola and Zidane) but also business leaders from Russia, South Korea and Bahrain.

And even a golden international trophy is on the list, the Ballon d'Or FF, which almost all of the club's 50 members dream of getting close to, directly or indirectly.  

The full feature will be available online through France Football