Fifa Secretary General Jérôme Valcke has been accused of agreeing to help sell Brazil 2014 World Cup tickets on the black market to generate millions of dollars in personal profit, in a fresh scandal to engulf football’s governing organisation.
The allegation was made by Benny Alon, an Israeli former footballer who has worked as a ticketing and hospitality agent at every World Cup since 1990.
Emails said to be between him and Mr Valcke appear to show that Mr Valcke knew that Mr Alon intended to sell 8,750 tickets for 24 ‘creme de la creme’ matches at last year’s World Cup at several times their face value – a breach of Fifa’s rules on ticket sales.
The allegations have been denied by Mr Valcke.
Mr Alon has spent today briefing journalists on his claims, and said that in a meeting with Mr Valcke in 2013, the pair agreed that Mr Alon’s JB Sports Marketing (JBSM) would be provided with the tickets to matches featuring hosts Brazil and eventual champions Germany.
“I told him we’d like tickets to three Germany matches, and all the matches Brazil might play,” Mr Alon told the Daily Mail.
“It was clear we could make a good amount of money from selling these tickets if we got these games – the creme de la creme – and we agreed to split the profit.”
Mr Valcke, a former television sports journalist, is the second most important man in Fifa after Sepp Blatter, and has been Secretary General since 2007. So far none of the various allegations against Fifa executives have suggested anyone sought to benefit from corrupt deals.
Mr Alon said that, in the end, the deal didn’t happen. Mr Alon claimed Mr Valcke asked him if it could be cancelled, ‘as a favour’, as Fifa already had an official ticketing partnership with a different company, Match.
In an email to Mr Alon on 12 December 2013, Mr Valcke allegedly wrote: “Benny, if you ask lawyers about [it] nothing will happen. You, we, have no choice. Otherwise [your] deal will be cancelled by Fifa or we all face as individuals criminal offence. It is not a joke. It is very serious. So avoid too many advice. Just do it, if I may say using a slogan from one company involved. All is clear and has to be finalized now. Thanks. Jérôme.”
The Fifa bigwigs facing charges
The Fifa bigwigs facing charges
1/14 Jeffrey Webb, 50, Cayman Iskands
A Fifa vice president. His arrest came as a big surprise, as he had been tipped as the man to clean up Fifa once Blatter departs. Webb is also president of Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) and the Cayman Islands Football Association
2/14 Costas Takkas, 58, UK
A British citizen, Mr Takkas is currently an attache to the Concacaf president. He was previously general secretary of the Cayman Islands Football Association, of which Mr Webb is president
3/14 Jack Warner, 72, (pictured), Daryan Warner, 46 and Daryll Warner, 40, Trinidad & Tobago
The former Fifa vice president and head of Concacaf was a dominant force in football for 30 years, but was suspended from his roles in 2011 amid accusations of corruption dating back to the 1980s and an investigation by Fifa's ethics committee. He later resigned, ending the proceedings against him. Daryan Warner, the son of Jack Warner is also believed to have co-operated with the FBI. He pleaded guiltyin October 2013 to wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and the structuring of financial transactions, forfeiting $1.1m. Daryll Warner, another of Jack Warner's sons, he pleaded guilty to various offences in July 2013. A former Fifa development officer, he lost the job in 2012 after his father's resignation amid corruption allegations. He and his brother both face up to 10 years in prison
4/14 Charles Blazer, 70, USA
The former Concacaf general secretary reportedly turned "supergrass" to help the FBI inestigation, using a bugging device hidden inside a key fob to record meetigs with his Fifa colleagues at the London 2012 Olympics. In November 2013 he pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and income tax evasion. Seriously ill with colon cancer
5/14 Rafael Esquivel, 68, Venezuela
Executive committee member of the South American Football Confederetion (Conmebol). It is alleged that officials at Conmebol, which organises the Copa America, received bribes from marketing executives
6/14 Eugenio Figueredo, 83, USA/Uruguay
The Fifa vice president and executive committee member is a big name in world football, having previously been at the head of Conmebol and the Uruguayan Football Association. A former right-back
7/14 Nicolas Leoz, 86, Paraguay
A former Fifa executive committee member and Conmebol president. When he retired in 2013 for health reasons, he said: "I've not stolen so much as a cent"
8/14 Eduardo Li, 56, Costa Rica
President of the Costa Rican Football Federation. He was elected to Fifa's executive commitee in March
9/14 José Maria Marin, 83, Brazil
The former president of the Brazilian Football Confederation is also a member of Fifa's committee for Olympic tournaments
10/14 Julio Rocha, 64, Nicaragua
Fifa development officer. Previously president of his country's football federation
11/14 José Hawilla, 71, Brazil
The owner and founder of the Traffic Group, a sports marketing conglomerate, pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, and money laundering conspiracy in 2014. Two of his companies - Traffic Sports International Inc and Traffic Sports USA Inc - have also pleaded guilty
12/14 Aaron Davidson, 44, USA
President of Traffic Sports USA, is a large promoter of football events in America
13/14 Alejandro Burzaco, 50, (pictured), Hugo Jinkis, 70 and Mariano Jinkis, 40, Argentina
Alejandro Burzaco, a media executive who controls Torneos y Competencias, a sports marketing business. Hugo Jinkis, is the president of Full Play Group, a sports marketing business in Argentina. His son Mariano, is vice president
14/14 José Margulies (AKA José Lazaro), 75, Brazil
Although he is in broadcasting, it is alleged he served as an intermediary to facilitate illicit payments between sports marketing executives and Fifa officials
There appears to be an eight-month gap between the point at which Mr Valcke had been made aware that the tickets would be sold at inflated prices and the deal being withdrawn.
Mr Alon alleges one email exchange between the two men was over an agreed meeting to exchange large amounts of cash, in a suitcase he showed to reporters. This email exchange showed Mr Valcke saying he was too busy to meet. Mr Alon said he therefore returned the cash to the bank the next day.
Mr Valcke was personally plunged into Fifa’s mire of scandal when his name was seen at the bottom of an email licensing a $10m (£6.5m) payment from Fifa to the Caribbean Football Union, ostensibly for an “African Diaspora Legacy Programme” connected to the South Africa World Cup, but which is alleged to have been diverted to Jack Warner, the then president of the Concacaf federation.
Fifa said that Mr Valcke was not involved in the initiation approval or the implementation of the payment.
Mr Valcke has indicated he will step down from Fifa at a special congress in February, when Mr Blatter is also expected to leave the body.
Fifa has not commented on the allegations made by Mr Alon.
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