FIFA has banned its former Secretary General Jérome Valcke for 12 years for the fraudulent sale of World Cup tickets, attempting to sell World Cup media rights at below their market value, lining his own pockets with excessive expenses and trying to destroy evidence of his misdeeds.
The extensive list of misconduct, published by FIFA’s ethics committee on Friday, follows a four-month investigation into outgoing FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man. Valcke was suspended in September after the media uncovered evidence that he was selling World Cup tickets at inflated prices to a sports marketing firm and pocketing some of the ill-gotten profits.
“In this respect, not only did Mr Valcke do nothing to stop these activities, he even encouraged the persons responsible to do so. Furthermore, Mr Valcke repeatedly encouraged them to breach an agreement concluded between FIFA and the sports marketing firm,” the ethics committee’s adjudicatory arm stated.
It also found Valcke guilty of a range of other offences, including the attempted sale of 2018 and 2022 World Cup marketing rights for the Caribbean at “far below” their market value.
In addition, the committee says Valcke dipped into his personal expense allowance for “sightseeing reasons” and took chartered private jets for himself and family members “without any business rationale”.
“In doing so, Mr Valcke acted against FIFA’s best interests and caused considerable financial damage to FIFA, while his private and personal interests detracted him from his ability to properly perform his duties as the Secretary General of FIFA,” the statement read.
He was also found guilty of trying to “obstruct the ongoing proceedings against him by attempting to delete or deleting several files and folders relevant to the investigation, despite being aware of his duty to preserve all data and to collaborate in order to establish the facts of the case”.
Valcke was fined CHF100,000 ($103,000) in addition to the 12 year ban.
FIFA has also handed over evidence gleaned from its investigation to the Swiss Attorney General’s office, which has opened several criminal proceedings against FIFA and executives.
Blatter and FIFA Vice President Michel Platini (also head of the European football union UEFA) have already received eight year bans from football activities but will appeal these verdicts next week.
The United States is also leading criminal investigations into several football officials and marketing companies.