18 Sep 2015

Fresh corruption allegations swirl around FIFA

5:05 pm on 18 September 2015

FIFA has been plunged into fresh turmoil amid new allegations of corruption at the top level of world football.

FIFA's secretary-general Jerome Valcke, and the right hand man of the organisation's president Sepp Blatter since 2007, has been accused of being implicated in a scheme to sell World Cup tickets above face value and share in the profits.

Valcke has been put on leave and released from his duties until further notice.

A FIFA statement said it had "been made aware of a series of allegations involving the secretary general".

FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke.

FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke. Photo: Photosport

The allegations, denied by Valcke, have been made by a consultant at a company that struck a deal with FIFA to sell tickets for the 2014 World Cup but the contract was cancelled.

The claims will increase the pressure on Valcke, who is fighting on a number of fronts amid the continuing meltdown at FIFA.

The Guardian newspaper reports it has seen documents which appear to suggest that Valcke was to be the beneficiary of an agreement to sell the tickets at inflated prices.

The newspaper said however that 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 ever sold.

Valcke denies he made any money out of the deal struck by FIFA with JB Sports Marketing, the company for whom Alon worked.

It is understood Valcke's position is that while there was a FIFA contract with JB Marketing to sell tickets, it later became clear FIFA was not in a position to sell these tickets and that when it became apparent that tickets were being offered at above face value Valcke warned Alon about the need to adhere to the regulations and ended up terminating the contract.

The emails seen by the Guardian appear to raise questions over the fact that Valcke was told in April 2013 that tickets were being sold at more than four times face value and yet it was eight months before the contract was revised.

JB Sports Marketing had been involved with FIFA World Cups since the 1990 tournament in Italy and signed a 2010 deal to sell 8,750 tickets for Brazil 2014.

Ticket sales for the 2014 World Cup are at the centre of the latest allegations surrounding FIFA.

Valcke, already under pressure over what he knew about a $10m payment from the South African FA to an account controlled by disgraced former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner, has agreed to leave FIFA next February.

He will step down at the same specially convened Congress at which a new president will be chosen to succeed Sepp Blatter.

Blatter, 79, agreed to stand down days after his re-election in May, amid a mounting crisis precipitated by a wave of arrests and indictments by the US Department of Justice.

Dollar bills rain down on FIFA president Sepp Blatter, at a media conference in Zurich. A man posing as a journalist had thrown the money at him.

Dollar bills rain down on FIFA president Sepp Blatter, at a media conference in Zurich earlier this year. A man posing as a journalist had thrown the money at him. Photo: Photosport

In what it said amounted to a "World Cup of fraud" a total of 14 individuals, including nine FIFA officials, were charged with offences including racketeering and money laundering.

Valcke, ultimately responsible for delivering FIFA's showpiece tournaments and its commercial and TV deals, recently defended his record.

"Whoever becomes the new FIFA president should have a new secretary general - it is the most important relationship for any organisation," he said in July.

"As the head of the administration I can be proud of what FIFA has done. The administration, I don't think, has ever been part of any of the stories which are around FIFA, including all the commercial agreements we have signed from 2007 to 2015."

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