FIFA named Frenchman Jerome Valcke as its new general secretary on Wednesday -- less than eight months after it had "parted company" with Valcke and three other employees in the division he headed.
Valcke was the Director of
the Marketing & TV Division responsible for negotiating a
sponsorship agreement with Visa International that was ruled invalid by
a Federal district court in New York in December. The decision was
vacated on appeal and returned to the judge, and Mastercard and FIFA
settled their lawsuit, paving the way for Visa International to come on
board as one of FIFA's six main sponsors.
At one point in the lawsuit MasterCard filed for breach of the
so-called first right of first refusal it had with FIFA in the credit
card category, the district court judge noted Valcke's credibility was
"totally destroyed" and FIFA itself stated last December in its
dismissal of the four employees that it could not be overlooked that
breached its business principles" and "FIFA cannot possibly accept such
conduct among its own employees."
On Wednesday, FIFA President Sepp
Blatter said at a news conference in Zurich that Valcke wasn't
"This is not the responsibility of Jerome Valcke, this is the
responsibility of the president of FIFA," Blatter said. "He was not
sacked, he was suspended and he is still under contract with FIFA."
There had been bad blood between FIFA and MasterCard for a number of
years regarding two-globes logos used by both parties. Blatter said a
third of the $90 million settlement with MasterCard covered the
"This is like a fish bone being removed from my throat," said Blatter.
"Our partners were suing us since 2002 in over 30 disputes in various
parts of the world concerning the trademark. This has been solved. It
is quite a lot of money but I think it can be digested."
Valcke, 46, joined FIFA as Director
of Marketing & TV in 2003. Having joined French television channel
Canal+ as a
journalist in 1984, he was appointed assistant head of its sports
department in 1991.
In 1997, he switched to Sport+ in the role of CEO, a position he
occupied until 2002. He then spent a year as chief operating officer at
He will replace Urs Linsi, who
resigned on June 11. FIFA's new
Deputy General Secretary will be German Markus Kattner.
Linsi is believed to have lost out in a political fight with long-time
Blatter ally Jack Warner, the
CONCACAF president accused of profiteering from the illegal sale of
black market World Cup tickets. Linsi's predecessor, Michel Zen
Ruffinen, was a vocal critic of Warner's practices and left FIFA in