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FIFA ethics committee bans Valcke for 12 years

Published:Saturday | February 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Valcke

GENEVA (AP):

Jerome Valcke, Sepp Blatter's long-time right-hand man, was banned from all football-related activity for 12 years yesterday for misconduct during his term as FIFA secretary general.

Valcke was found guilty by FIFA's ethics committee of wide-ranging offenses, including taking private jets for personal use, destroying evidence and trying to force through an undervalued sale of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup television rights for the Caribbean.

"Mr Valcke acted against FIFA's best interests and caused considerable financial damage to FIFA, while his private and personal interests detracted him from his ability to properly perform his duties," the ethics committee said in a statement.

Valcke's ban is four years longer than the eight-year sanctions handed down to FIFA President Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini in December for a financial conflict of interest.

The ethics judges said Valcke violated seven sections of FIFA's code of ethics, compared to four each by Blatter and Platini, and also fined him 100,000 Swiss francs (US$12.4 million).

The ban is likely not the end of Valcke's legal troubles. He is expected to be asked to give evidence to American and Swiss federal prosecutors investigating widespread corruption in international football.

His football ban comes one month after the 55-year-old Frenchman was fired by FIFA for a second time in a colourful career. The former television presenter and marketing executive had been suspended last September. The firing was based on an internal report about his conduct, including use of expenses and private jets.

FIFA commissioned that report last year before a 2014 World Cup ticket agent alleged that Valcke sought to profit from a black market deal which later fell through. That allegation, made by ticket agent Benny Alon, prompted Valcke's suspension and the ethics case to be opened.

Valcke has consistently denied wrongdoing, and can appeal to FIFA and later to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

"With today's decision, the FIFA ethics committee has shown that it is not a credible, independent or objective decision-making body," Valcke's US-based lawyer Barry Berke said in a statement, criticising an "unjust and politically motivated decision".

"Mr Valcke is confident that when all the facts come out, it will be clear that he did absolutely nothing wrong in carrying out his duties for the good of FIFA and the sport," Berke said.