It looks like Gianni Infantino’s honeymoon period is over.
Several stories broke this week that highlight how much work needs to be done to bring some semblance of transparency and reform to FIFA. There was the organization tacitly admitting that officials accepted bribes by way of initiating legal proceedings to get that money back. There was the announcement that Sepp Blatter is taking his appeal all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. There was the revelation that Blatter’s salary for his last year in office was a whopping £2.6 million.
And now there’s a new round of criminal proceedings for a disgraced former executive.
Authorities in Switzerland announced they had opened a criminal investigation of former secretary-general Jérôme Valcke. According to a spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General, Valcke is being investigated for “”various acts of criminal mismanagement” related to his time with FIFA.
Last month FIFA’s Ethics Committee voted to ban Valcke from all football activities for 12 years. This followed their ruling that Valcke had, among other things, scalped World Cup tickets, profited off the sale of broadcast rights, and used FIFA expense accounts to take lavish personal vacations.
A statement from the OAG spelled out the scope of the investigation:
As part of the financial disclosure released this week it was revealed Valcke’s salary last year was £1.5 million. It also showed that the organization reported a loss of £84 million last year.
It should be noted that the financial disclosure came as part of Infantino’s efforts to bring more transparency to the organization, a goal which was central to his election mandate. In releasing FIFA’s financial records, Infantino hoped to illustrate that despite losses and impropriety, the organization’s fundamental viability remains strong.
Regardless, a lot of bad news surrounding FIFA came out essentially all at once this week. For all of Infantino’s pledges of reform and accountability, this is still FIFA, and there’s a growing sense that football’s global governing body hasn’t quite hit bottom yet.