FIFA’s ethics committee announced earlier today that Jérôme Valcke has been suspended from football activities for 12 years.
The former secretary-general and trusted advisor to ousted president Sepp Blatter was given that sentence following a lengthy investigation into years of financial impropriety and other misconduct. The charges included scalping World Cup tickets, shady dealings surrounding the sale of broadcast rights, and misappropriating funds from his travel expense account. He’s also accused of hampering the investigation by destroying evidence.
Valcke was fined 100,000 Swiss francs in addition to the suspension, amounting to $102,427 (with current exchange rates at press time).
The ruling from the ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber spelled out Valcke’s profiteering at FIFA’s expense:
The chamber also found Valcke guilty of selling Caribbean broadcast rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to a third party at well below fair market rate, as well as deleting sensitive files despite his obligation to preserve data relevant to the investigation.
Valcke, who was placed on leave last fall after the World Cup ticket charges came to light, was a key figure in Sepp Blatter’s tumultuous administration. He served his first stint at FIFA as head of television and marketing, negotiating key broadcast deals in the early aughts. He resigned in 2006 after questions regarding contract negotiations with a major sponsor surfaced but returned a year later as the organization’s secretary-general. He was deeply involved in finalizing hosting rights for the World Cups in South Africa and Brazil as well as the negotiations to move Qatar’s World Cup to the winter in order to placate critics. Once the US DOJ investigations kicked into high gear last year, and especially after Blatter and UEFA chief Michel Platini were given lengthy bans, it seemed like a matter of time before the bell tolled for him too.
Valcke’s attorney blasted the ethics committee in a statement following the decision:
At press time it’s unclear whether Valcke plans to appeal the decision.