FIFA’s chief spokesman stepped down days after he cracked a joke on Swiss television about the legal issues facing soccer’s governing body.
Walter De Gregorio will leave his post as director of communications and public affairs immediately, FIFA said in a statement on its website Thursday. He will serve as a consultant until the end of the year and his deputy, Nicolas Maingot, will take interim charge. De Gregorio joined FIFA in September 2011.
“The FIFA president, secretary general and communications director are in a car. Who’s driving?” De Gregorio quipped on Swiss TV channel SRF, according to the Guardian, when asked if he had a favorite joke about the ruling body. “The police.”
U.S. authorities are seeking the extradition of seven FIFA officials on charges of bribery, racketeering and money laundering. The Department of Justice also indicted seven other soccer executives, while the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues its probe into corruption at the Swiss organization. Two days later, Sepp Blatter won a fifth term as FIFA president, only to say four days afterward that he will step down when a replacement is elected.
Swiss authorities are also investigating the award of the 2018 World and 2022 edition to Russia and Qatar respectively.
“Walter has worked incredibly hard for the past four years and we are immensely grateful for all he has done,” FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said in the statement.
For more, read this QuickTake: World Cup Corruption