Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, who served as right-hand man to Joseph Blatter for almost a decade, was Friday banned for 12 years by the ethics committee of football's world governing body.
The adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee said Valcke was banned from all football-related activities with immediate effect and fined 100,000 Swiss francs (102,400 dollars).
The ban is four years more than the ban handed down to Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini by the ethics committee late last year as criminal investigations continue into alleged corruption at FIFA.
Blatter and Platini were banned for ethics breaches concerning a "disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs made to Platini in 2011. Both have denied wrongdoing and said they would appeal.
Blatter's appeal against his ban is due to be heard Tuesday by FIFA's appeals committee, 10 days before FIFA holds an extraordinary congress in Zurich to elect a new president.
Valcke's ban follows an investigation into allegations of potential misconduct related to the sale of World Cup tickets and other violations of FIFA articles on the rules of conduct and ethics.
"During the course of the investigations, several other acts of potential misconduct arose, in particular abuse of the FIFA travel expenses policies and regulations, cases involving related-parties issues and the sale of TV and other media rights, and the destruction of evidence," a statement by the adjudicatorxy chamber said.
The 12-year ban on the 55-year-old French football administrator by the adjudicatory chamber, chaired by Hans Joachim Eckert, is higher than the nine years recommended last month by the ethics committee's investigatory chamber under chairman Cornel Borbely.
Valcke, who had been FIFA secretary general since 2007, was first suspended by FIFA last September as part of the investigations into the corruption scandals which have plagued football's ruling body. He was sacked by FIFA on January 13.
In its ruling, the adjudicatory chamber said it had found that a sports marketing firm had gained an undue advantage from the sale of World Cup tickets.
"In this respect, not only did Mr Valcke do nothing to stop these activities, he even encouraged the persons responsible to do so," a statement said.
"Furthermore, Mr Valcke repeatedly encouraged them to breach an agreement concluded between FIFA and the sports marketing firm."
Valcke also gained an advantage for himself by travelling at FIFA's expense "purely for sightseeing reasons" and repeatedly chose private flights for his trips without any business reasons, to the advantage of himself and relatives, it said.
"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 added.
On the issue of TV and media rights for the Caribbean, Valcke attempted to grant TV and media rights for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to a third party for a fee far below their actual market value, the ruling said.
"Furthermore, it was found that Mr Valcke deliberately tried 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," it said.
In summary, Valcke was ruled to have violated articles relating to general rules of conduct, loyalty, confidentiality, duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting, conflicts of interest, the offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, and obligation of the parties to collaborate, the adjudicatory chamber said.
Zurich-based FIFA is facing corruption probes by investigators in the United States and Switzerland, and several former high-ranking FIFA administraors been indicted on corruption charges.
Friday, September 9, 2016 - 13:33
Tuesday, January 5, 2016 - 15:29