- Ethics panel wants additional suspension for secretary general
- Valcke's lawyer calls penalties a `self-serving' PR effort
FIFA’s top administrator, secretary general Jerome Valcke, should be banned from soccer for nine years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($99,100), the ethics panel of the sport’s governing body recommended Tuesday.
Valcke had been suspended before FIFA announced an investigation into its chief Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and European soccer head Michel Platini. Last month, both men were given eight-year bans.
The suggested penalties for Valcke were outlined in an e-mail from the ethics panel, which also recommended extending the secretary general’s provisional three-month suspension, which was due to end Tuesday, for another 45 days.
Valcke was the soccer body’s second-in-command after Blatter. As secretary general he was responsible for the organization’s administration and oversaw its main source of revenue: the $5 billion World Cup, sport’s most-watched event.
After media reports in Europe and South America published on Sept. 17 implicated Valcke in a scheme to sell World Cup tickets at inflated prices, FIFA gave him the original suspension. Valcke denied those allegations.
Valcke’s lawyer, Barry H. Berke, responded angrily to the proposed penalty, saying “today’s press release is nothing more than a self-serving public relations effort to wrongly attack Mr. Valcke in a desperate attempt to try to prove that FIFA can police itself.”
“The Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee has chosen to ignore Jerome Valcke’s exemplary conduct and extraordinary contributions during his long tenure as Secretary General,” Berke said in an e-mailed statement. “Mr. Valcke did absolutely nothing wrong as any independent and fair review of the facts would establish.”
In a report Tuesday, the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee concluded that Valcke had violated FIFA’s general rules of conduct.
“Until a formal decision is taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, Mr. Valcke is presumed innocent,” the investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee said in a statement.
In December, FIFA banned Blatter and Platini over an unauthorized 2 million-Swiss franc ($2 million) payment. They deny the allegations.