ZURICH: Hans-Joachim Eckert, FIFA’s ethics judge, has formally opened proceedings against Jerome Valcke, the suspended secretary-general of the world football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The case concerning the Frenchman was out on the backburner after being overtaken by the ethics committee proceedings which led to the long-term bans of Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini, respective heads of FIFA and European federation UEFA.

Earlier this week, however, investigating chairman Cornel Borbely wrapped up inquiries into allegations concerning Valcke, successfully sought a 45-day extension to prosecute a recommendation for a nine-year ban from all football plus a SFr100,000 fine.

Eckert’s office has now confirmed the opening of ‘formal adjudicatory proceedings against Mr Jérôme Valcke based on the final report submitted by the investigatory chamber.’  He has been accused of “misuse of expenses and other infringements of FIFA’s rules and regulations.”

Last September Valcke, then president Sepp Blatter’s trusted No2, was relieved of his duties as secretary-general ‘effective immediately’ after allegations linking him to a World Cup ticket deal.

The 55-year-old was suspended subsequently by the ethics committee and his FIFA duties were taken over on an interim basis by finance director Markus Kattner.

Valcke, who has faced questions over a World Cup tickets deal and a controversial $10m payment from the 2010 South African World Cup organisers to ex-CONCACAF president Jack Warner, had been expected to leave FIFA after the election of a new president next February 26.

Valcke, through his lawyers, has denied all wrongdoing and will be offered the chance to state his case.