Valcke still suspended as Fifa seeks 9-year ban for ex-sec gen

Valcke was initially suspended in September for his alleged involvement in a ticketing scam during the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Valcke was initially suspended in September for his alleged involvement in a ticketing scam during the 2014 Brazil World Cup.

ZURICH • Fifa ethics judges agreed yesterday to extend secretary general Jerome Valcke's temporary suspension for 45 more days, after investigators urged them to take more time to weigh corruption allegations against the football world governing body's former second- in-command.

"The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee chaired by Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert has decided to extend the suspension of Mr Jerome Valcke by 45 days," a statement released by Fifa read.

"The extension of the suspension starts from today."

Valcke's initial suspension began in mid-September and officially expired at midnight yesterday.

The investigatory chamber of Fifa's ethics committee had called for the extension on Tuesday, requesting more time for evaluating the evidence against Valcke.

Ultimately, they said, they want to see the suspended secretary general banned from football for nine years. The investigators also called for the 55-year-old Frenchman to pay a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs (S$142,000).

Valcke's suspension followed allegations of involvement in a ticketing scam, in which he was accused of selling 2014 Brazil World Cup tickets on the black market at above their face value.

He had previously been accused of being party to a potential US$10 million (S$14.3 million) bribe paid to Jack Warner, former head of the North and Central America football governing body Concacaf.

Had the adjudicatory chamber not extended his suspension, he still would not have been able to return to work, as he has also been banned indefinitely by Fifa's management, a penalty that is separate from the ethics committee ban.

Valcke's lawyer, Barry Berke, blasted the Fifa investigators on Tuesday, insisting that his client "did absolutely nothing wrong as any independent and fair review of the facts would establish".

"The Ethics Committee has chosen to ignore Valcke's exemplary conduct and extraordinary contributions," he added in a statement.

He insisted that the demand for a nine-year-ban was "nothing more than a self-serving public relations effort to wrongly attack Mr Valcke in a desperate attempt to try to prove that Fifa can police itself".

Valcke's potential downfall is the latest in world football, hit by an unprecedented series of scandals that have sparked demand for major reform across the globe.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa chief Michel Platini were last month banned from football for eight years each, although they could still appeal the sanction.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 07, 2016, with the headline 'Valcke still suspended as Fifa seeks 9-year ban for ex-sec gen'. Print Edition | Subscribe