When Jérôme Valcke—formerly Sepp Blatter’s righthand man as FIFA secretary general—was suspended and investigated after documents tying him to a shady World Cup ticket reselling racket came out, we all thought we were dealing with your run-of-the-mill venal FIFA greaseball. Now that FIFA has concluded its investigation and released some of what they found, it turns out that Valcke was actually even worse that we first suspected. Shocker, I know.
Lavish personal trips to far flung locales in private planes paid for by FIFA, repeated flouting of contracts with the implication of secret kick-backs, attempting to cover his tracks by destroying evidence after hearing the sirens—the guy was a first-class cheat. Here’s part of the statement FIFA released today, explaining their decision to ban Valcke from soccer for 12 years by outlining the bodies they found piling up in Valcke’s backyard:
Amongst other things, the adjudicatory chamber found that a sports marketing firm had gained an undue advantage from the selling of FIFA World Cup™ tickets. In this respect, not only did Mr Valcke do nothing to stop these activities, he even encouraged the persons responsible to do so. Furthermore, Mr Valcke repeatedly encouraged them to breach an agreement concluded between FIFA and the sports marketing firm.
Moreover, by travelling at FIFA’s expense purely for sightseeing reasons as well as repeatedly choosing private flights for his trips over commercial flights without any business rationale for doing so, Mr Valcke, gained an advantage for himself and relatives. In doing so, 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 as the Secretary General of FIFA.
Concerning the issue of TV and media rights for the Caribbean, it was found that Mr Valcke attempted to grant the TV and media rights for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups™ to a third party for a fee far below their actual market value and had taken concrete preparatory action in this regard.
Furthermore, it was found that Mr Valcke deliberately tried to obstruct the ongoing proceedings against him by attempting to delete or deleting several files and folders relevant to the investigation, despite being aware of his duty to preserve all data and to collaborate in order to establish the facts of the case.
What’s been evident from the fallout of the innumerable FIFA corruption investigations over the past year is that, while the regional federations are often run by shameless grifters from top to bottom, high-ranking officers in FIFA-proper try to maintain a veil—thin as it may be—between themselves and the endemic corruption below them. Think the Godfather only talking business with his capos. It’s how Blatter can be so obviously crooked yet remain so elusive when anyone tries to pin something solid to him.
Valcke, though, was apparently just out here running wild. Well, it sounds like it was fun while it lasted.
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