Possible life ban awaits Blatter's No. 2 Valcke

Jerome Valcke was Fifa's secretary- general until September, when he was suspended amid allegations of involvement in ticket touting.
Jerome Valcke was Fifa's secretary-general until September, when he was suspended amid allegations of involvement in ticket touting.

ZURICH • After effectively ending the career of Fifa president Sepp Blatter, internal investigators at football's beleaguered governing body are shifting their focus to throwing out his chief lieutenant, Jerome Valcke.

The latter had been suspended before Fifa announced its investigations into Blatter and European football head Michel Platini's activities, which ended with Monday's eight-year bans of both men.

Valcke, a 55-year-old Frenchman, was told to leave his office in September while Fifa investigated "a series of allegations" of misconduct.  Last week, a forensic investigations company sent the investigative arm of the ethics committee a dossier of more than 100 pages that outline several breaches of Fifa's ethics code by Valcke, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The report on his conduct would lead to a life ban from football should the allegations be accepted by Fifa's adjudicatory panel, said the person, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Andreas Bantel, a spokesman for Fifa's investigatory arm, declined to comment on Valcke's case.

Barry Berke, who is a lawyer for Valcke, did not immediately respond to an e-mail or phone call seeking comment.

After Blatter, Valcke was Fifa's most senior official.

As secretary-general, he was responsible for the organisation's administration and oversaw its main source of revenue: the US$5 billion (S$7 billion) World Cup, sport's most-watched event.

Hours after media reports in Europe and South America published on Sept 17 implicated Valcke in a scheme to sell World Cup tickets at inflated prices, Fifa announced his temporary, 90-day suspension.

He denied those allegations. 

Separately, Valcke - who has been Blatter's No. 2 since 2007 - has been linked to a US$10 million payment US prosecutors contend was a bribe. It was allegedly paid by South African officials to Jack Warner, a former Fifa vice-president charged in the US, to secure their country's bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

Valcke said the payment was legitimate and part of a development project.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 24, 2015, with the headline 'Possible life ban awaits Blatter's No. 2 Valcke'. Print Edition | Subscribe