KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Jerome Valcke, for eight years the right-hand man of Sepp Blatter as secretary-general of world football federation FIFA, has been placed under criminal investigation by the Office of the Swiss Attorney-General.

The 55-year-old Frenchman was ‘relieved of his duties’ by FIFA last autumn, sacked in January and then suspended by the ethics committee for 12 years for a series of regulatory breaches.

In his continuing spiral from power Valcke is being investigated, according to the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland, for “various acts of criminal mismanagement”.

He has not been arrested or detained but was questioned by investigators who carried out early-morning searches.

Ticket sales

The statement added that the criminal investigation related to the “matters investigated by the FIFA ethics committee” despite Valcke’s lawyers’ insistence  that he had done “absolutely nothing wrong”.

FIFA’s own inquiry considered about his sideline involvement in World Cup tickets sales, from which he allegedly sought to privately benefit, He was also targeted over attempts to sell TV and media rights to a third party in a cut-price deal.

It heard Valcke routinely used a private plane for personal use “and caused considerable financial damage to Fifa”.

The Swiss Attorney-General’s statement came on the day it emerged Valcke was paid SFr2.1m (£1.5m) by FIFA last year, excluding bonuses and other contractual benefits.

FIFA’s annual financial report showed disgraced former president Sepp Blatter earned SFr3.63m (£2.59m). Blatter is also under criminal investigation of two issues of misconduct in office concerning a TV rights sale and a ‘disloyal payment’ to Michel Platini, the banned head of European governing body UEFA.