FIFA ethics committee bans Valcke for 12 years

Fri Feb 12, 2016 2:51pm EST
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke became the latest high-profile soccer official to be kicked out of the sport when he was banned for 12 years on Friday after causing "considerable financial damage" to its scandal-plagued governing body.

Valcke was found guilty by FIFA ethics judge Hans-Joachim Eckert of misconduct over the sale of World Cup tickets, abuse of travel expenses, attempting to sell TV rights below their market value and destruction of evidence.

"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," FIFA's ethics committee said in a statement.

The Frenchman, whose job was to ensure the smooth running of FIFA and in particular its flagship World Cup tournament, had been right-hand man to now banned president Sepp Blatter for nearly eight years.

FIFA is mired in the worst crisis in its 111-year history, with corruption investigations under way in Switzerland and the United States. Several dozen people including senior football officials have been indicted.

The ethics committee has already banned Blatter and European soccer boss Michel Platini for eight years apiece. More than a dozen other officials have been suspended over the last four years.

Valcke's U.S. lawyer Barry Berke said in a statement that the ethics committee "is not a credible, independent or objective decision-making body."

He described its Friday decision as "unsupported, unjust and politically motivated" and said Valcke's evidence had been ignored.   Continued...

FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke speaks as he attends a news conference during his visit to the southern city of Samara, one of the 2018 World Cup host cities, Russia, June 10, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Zmeyev