FIFA boss Jerome Valcke suspended over ticket allegations

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke -- its chief executive officer -- has been suspended until further notice. In a statement, FIFA said it had "been made aware of a series of allegations involving the secretary general and has requested a formal investigation by the FIFA Ethics Committee.”

The move follows a news conference Thursday in Zurich at which he was implicated by former NASL player Benny Alon (Chicago Sting) in schemes to sell tickets above face value at World Cup events. Valcke has denied the allegations.

Alon said he struck a deal with Valcke in 2013 to secure World Cup tickets to popular matches at the 2014 finals in Brazil. He said the deal fell through and Valcke never received anything.

"Mr. Valcke never received or agreed to accept any money or anything else of value from Mr. Alon," Valcke's U.S. lawyer Barry Berke said in a statement to Reuters.

Alon has worked in the soccer ticket marketing and hospitality business for big events since the early 1990s. He said his company JB Sports Marketing AG discussed with Valcke in 2013 receiving tickets for the 2014 World Cup.

Berke said in his statement to Reuters that "FIFA entered into an agreement with Mr. Alon's company, JB Sports Marketing. That agreement and FIFA's subsequent business dealings with Mr. Alon were vetted and approved by FIFA and its legal counsel."

Valcke was fired as FIFA marketing director in late 2006 after a New York Federal court judge determined that FIFA had "lied repeatedly" during World Cup sponsorship negotiations with MasterCard. He was rehired as secretary general by FIFA president Sepp Blatter within a year. He was expected to step down as secretary general shortly. His boss, Blatter, will step down next February following a special election for a new president.

The allegations are in the latest in a long list of charges against FIFA officials. Incidents of ticket touting by FIFA officials have been frequent.

Former Concacaf general secretary and FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer pleaded guilty to involvement in World Cup ticket sale scams. Daryan Warner, son of Jack Warner, the former Concacaf president and fellow FIFA executive committee member, also pleaded guilty to involvement in World Cup ticket sale scams. FIFA fined Jack Warner's family $1 million for the illegal sale of 2006 World Cup tickets. Jack Warner was among 14 FIFA officials and soccer executives indicted by Federal authorities in May.

In the indictment, Valcke is believed to be the unidentified "high-ranking FIFA official" who caused $10 million in bank transfers to be made to one of the accounts controlled by Warner in connection with South Africa's efforts to repay Warner for securing the three deciding votes in its successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup.

As FIFA's chief executive, Valcke, who is a native of France and began his career at French network Canal-Plus, has been the face of FIFA, conducting the draws at major FIFA events. He was the point person in FIFA's efforts to quash requests by women's players about the use of artificial turf at the 2015 Women's World Cup. He was the points person on FIFA's efforts to organize the World Cup in Brazil. And he was doing the same work related to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, where economic problems have forced organizers to scale back plans. He was believed to be en route to Russia -- and forced to turn around -- on Thursday when the latest scandal hit.

“You’ve decided that, after Blatter, I’m the head to be cut?” he said prophetically in June at a news conference in Russia related the South Africa controversy. “Fine, say it. But don’t use the $10 million. Because there’s nothing about the $10 million where I have made any mistake.”

Alon, a native of Israel, has been a long-time friend of UEFA president Michel Platini, who has been at odds with Blatter and intends to replace him as FIFA president. UEFA recently accused Blatter of operating a smear campaign against Platini.

1 comment about "FIFA boss Jerome Valcke suspended over ticket allegations".
  1. Santiago 1314, September 17, 2015 at 9:59 p.m.

    Drip..Drip..Drip...Must be a Server in a Bathroom somewhere.!?!?

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