KEIR RADNEDGE in ST PETERSBURG —- A relaxed Jerome Valcke acknowledged here today that his days as secretary-general of FIFA are numbered and that he expects a new president to bring in his own ceo.

The 54-year-old Frenchman had said previously that his tenure at the world federation was tied to that of Sepp Blatter. A further four years in tandem had appeared on track when Blatter was re-elected as president on May 29 but then he announced his impending departure and a new president will be chosen at an extraordinary congress next February 26.

That will also be the beginning of the end for Valcke who was appointed in the summer of 2007 after an earlier, rancorously ended spell as head of FIFA Marketing.

Jerome Valcke gathers up his papers . . . after the World Cup draw news conference in St Petersburg

Valcke, as secretary-general of FIFA, has taken an all-encompassing hands-on role in directing the challenging organisation of the World Cups in South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014 and is a far happier man as far as preparation for Russia is concerned.

But he has accepted that he will not see the current task through to its climax at the finals in 2018.

Valcke has largely steered clear of the FIFAgate corruption scandal with the notable exception of having accepted orders to effect a $10m donation from the South African World Cup organisers to Jack Warner’s ‘diaspora’ charity in the Caribbean.

Pride in office

Asked about his status amid the latest FIFA cataclysm, Valcke denied any responsibility.

He said: “As the head of the administration I can be proud of what the administration has done and I don’t think the administration has ever been part of the stories around FIFA including the commercial agreements we have signed.

“There is no suggestion of any wrongdoings [so] I don’t think I’m involved or have anything to do in this case. I am responsible only for my own duty to implement the decisions of congress and of the executive committee.”

As for his own personal future, however, Valcke had no doubt that he was counting down the days to his own departure.

He said: “If it were me I would take a new general secretary because the FIFA president should have a new general secretary since it’s the most important role. Whoever becomes president should appoint his own ceo. It’s a key function and, about my own future, at whatever I will do in my life is a question [only] for me, myself.

“Russia, with the exception of one stadium, is well on track and the next FIFA general secretary should be happy that he will have a well-organised World Cup when he takes over.”

Fellow Frenchman Michel Platini, the head of UEFA, is early favourite to succeed FIFA Blatter as president, amid some speculation that he would want to bring Gianni Infantino with him from the European federation.

Platini chaired the morning’s meeting of the FIFA World Cup organising committee but left news conference duties to Valcke and Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

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