KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Jerome Valcke, one-time FIFA No2 as secretary-general of the world football federation, must remain banned from football.
The verdict was handed down by the Swiss Federal Court, the last hope of the 58-year-old Frenchman who had failed with previous complaints to the FIFA appeal committee and to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Valcke, who has always denied all wrongdoing, was also ordered to pay federal court costs amounting to 18,000 CHF and legal expenses of 20,000 CHF to FIFA.
The journalist turned marketing specialist had been right-hand man to president Sepp Blatter from 2007 until late 2015 when the ethics committee launched an inquiry which saw his sacking from FIFA followed by a 10-year ban from the game plus 100,000 CHF fine.
The basis of Valcke’s appeal to the highest Swiss court was that his case should have been judged according to Swiss and not international law as had been the case with CAS. The Federal Court rejected this argument on the basis that Valcke had already signed away any domestic legal rights when he went to CAS.
Valcke had been judged by the ethics committee of having sold World Cup tickets for his own gain in a side deal with an agency named as JB Sports Marketing and trying to destroy evidence.
The Federal Court ruling also stated that Valcke had used the FIFA jet for private travel at a cost of $11.7m between January 2011 and September 2013.
It also considered he had negotiated the sale of certain television rights to favor the re-election of Blatter in 2011. He also obtained through his son internal confidential information about a company with which FIFA was in negotiation.
Valcke remains the subject of two criminal investigations by the federal prosecutor’s office as well as a separate FIFA ethics investigation into salaries and bonuses paid to top officials.
The Swiss prosecutors’ investigation concerns an allegation that Valcke was bribed by Qatari television executive Nasser al-Khelaifi with the use of a luxury villa in Italy in a World Cup media rights deal.
Al-Khelaifi, the president of French champion Paris Saint-Germain, was also implicated in the case and also denies wrongdoing. He is currently a member of the executive committee of European federation UEFA as a delegate from the European Club Association.
FIFA said in a statement it “welcomes the judgment.”
Linsi also fails
Urs Linsi, Jerome Valcke’s predecessor as secretary-general of FIFA, has failed in a court attempt to deny the prosecutors’ office access to his electronic business and personal calendar records.
The Federal Supreme Court, in a statement, said: “In view of the impending statute of limitations of the criminal case (…) The lower court is formally instructed to send the legally-sealed unsealed evidence to the Federal Prosecutor.”
Linsi is under investigation over his role over the repayment via FIFA of a mysterious €6.7m loan to the 2006 German World Cup organisers which originated with the late Adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus.
The sum reportedly ended up with the Qatari businessman Mohamed bin Hammam who was then president of the Asian Football Confederation and an influential member of the FIFA executive committee.
A 15-year statute of limitations expires at the end of April 2020 because the contested payment from FIFA was dated as April 27, 2005.