Jérôme Valcke, outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s second-in-command, is currently under investigation by soccer’s governing body concerning allegations that he was involved in a scheme to resell World Cup tickets for grossly inflated prices.
This particular incident stems from the accusations made by a consultant of a company FIFA once contracted with to sell World Cup tickets. The ploy was that FIFA would sell World Cup tickets to the company, who then planned on reselling them on the open market for prices much higher than face value. Some time after the contract was signed, FIFA canceled the agreement.
Without knowing more of the evidence, it’s hard to judge the allegations on their own. The Guardian, however, has seen some of the documents in question:
Documents seen by the Guardian appear to suggest that Valcke was to be the beneficiary of an agreement to sell the tickets at inflated prices. However, the documents are incomplete, selective and could easily be open to other interpretations. One email from the consultant, Benny Alon, apparently sent to Valcke, states in reference to the sale of tickets to group matches at the 2014 World Cup: “we made US$114,000 each on Germany”. However, it has been suggested that no tickets were actually sold.
Valcke has denied any wrongdoing. His position is that the original contract was on the up-and-up, and once he discovered the discrepancies about pricing, he contracted the resellers and advised them to start following the rules. When it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, FIFA canceled the deal before any tickets were sold.
In addition to the contract itself, the Guardian got access to a number of emails between Valcke and the snitch. It remains up to interpretation who exactly knew what and when, but one email at least points to Valcke’s knowledge of the inflated prices eight months before FIFA took any action to rectify the contract:
In an email Alon claims was sent to Valcke in April 2013, Alon details how much was being made on each ticket. Fifty tickets for a second-round match in São Paulo with a face value of $230 sell for $1,300 each and 600 tickets for Germany’s first-round game sell for three times their $190 face value. “We are doing better then [sic] the NY Stock Exchange,” writes Alon.
FIFA saw fit to suspend Valcke, relieving him of all his official duties until their investigation is completed.
It’s probably in large part a PR consideration to act so quickly, in lieu of their waiting to do anything about the rampant, barely concealed bribery until people were getting thrown in handcuffs, but it’s also probably the right move. Valcke’s not long for that job anyway (he announced that he’d step down when Sepp Blatter does after the new elections), so FIFA might as well use his example to gesture at some kind of integrity, calculated though it may be.
Or maybe it’s a proactive way to get out in front of a rumored second round of indictments.
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