ZURICH: Any faint prospect of Jerome Valcke running for the FIFA presidency has been driven into the realms of the impossible by his suspension from his role as only the ninth general secretary in the 111 years of FIFA and the only Frenchman writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Current president Sepp Blatter had been general secretary before taking power in 1998 and Valcke has had to consider the possibility for himself both last year and again this time around.
His family would probably have advised him against running, hence it now appears he has reached the end of the road in Zurich.
The French marketing specialist – who had started his working career as a journalist – was appointed in the summer of 2007, having been head previously of FIFA Marketing for three years.
Valcke was removed from that role in December 2006 after taking the blame for the costly court action which resulted from FIFA dumping MasterCard as a World Cup sponsor in favour of Visa.
In the spring of 2007, while on gardening leave from FIFA, Valcke was commissioned by the Brazilian football confederation to prepare its bid book in the campaign led by his old friend, CBF president Ricardo Teixeira, to secure host rights to the 2014 World Cup.
Having completed that assignment, Valcke returned to FIFA in the summer of 2007 as general secretary (whose title later evolved, United Nations-style, into secretary-general).
Brazil’s bid, the only one from South America, was presented to the FIFA executive committee, in the October. Valcke declared an interest but, in any case, as secretary-general he does not have a vote. Since Brazil was the only bidder, courtesy of rotation, it was approved as 2014 host.
Valcke spent significant amounts of time visiting South Africa and Brazil ahead of the 2010 and 2014 World Cups to oversee preparations.
When challenged by this writer on whether he should spend so much time in project-chasing, he responded: “The World Cup generates almost all of FIFA’s income so I think it must be the duty of the secretary-general, as senior administrator, to do everything possible to protect FIFA’s investment.”
FIFA general secretaries
1904-06: Louis Muhlinghaus (Belgium)
1906-31: C A W Hirschman (Holland)
1931-51: Ivo Schricker (Germany)
1951-60: Kurt Gassmann (Switzerland)
1961-81: Helmut Käser (Switzerland)
1981-98: Sepp Blatter (Switzerland)
1998-2002: Michel Zen-Ruffinen (Switzerland)
2002-07: Urs Linsi (Switzerland)
2007—: Jerome Valcke (France)