Fifa’s general secretary, Jérôme Valcke, had requested a pay-off from the organisation worth millions of pounds before he was suspended on Thursday in the wake of yet more corruption allegations at football’s world governing body.
The Frenchman announced in July that he would leave Fifa at the emergency congress next February, when the president, Sepp Blatter, will also stand down.
According to the Press Association, Valcke’s contract has three years to run and he had been negotiating a pay-off to leave the organisation, but had not been successful. Valcke’s predecessor, Urs Linsi, was given a pay-off worth £3.6m. However, that was in different times.
Valcke has been in the No 2 job since 2007, despite being forced to leave the organisation only a year earlier after Mastercard walked out on a sponsorship deal, claiming it and Visa had been lied to in order to secure the highest possible price for a deal.
Until this week, none of the many scandals engulfing the organisation had specifically implicated Fifa’s very highest-ranking officials.
But the allegations made by ticketing agent Benny Alon – that he had made an agreement with Valcke to sell Brazil 2014 World Cup tickets for prices way over their listed value, and that Valcke would receive a cut of the profits – have caused Valcke to be suspended by Fifa pending an investigation by its ethics committee.
Valcke, for his part, has denied the “outrageous and fabricated” allegations. Fifa also cancelled the contract in 2013, ostensibly when it became clear that the tickets would be sold at several times their face value, and the deal never took place.
Sources close to Fifa have told Press Association Sport that Valcke has been keen for some time to make an early exit from the governing body.
Valcke had been on his way to Moscow for a Russia 2018 event to mark 1,000 days to go to the next World Cup, but when the allegations broke his private jet was turned around in mid-air and he returned to Zurich.
Blatter, who was also due to fly to Moscow, has cancelled his travel plans. Blatter sent an email to Fifa staff in which he claimed: “Fifa is confident of its ability to recover from the present difficult situation and restore its reputation for the good of the game.”
You would have to go back a very long time to find a point at which Fifa had any kind of reputation worth restoring.
Valcke’s lawyers said in a statement: “Mr Valcke never received or agreed to accept any money or anything else of value from Mr Alon. As has been reported, Fifa entered into an agreement with Mr Alon’s company, JB Sports Marketing. That agreement and Fifa’s subsequent business dealings with Alon were vetted and approved by Fifa and its legal counsel.”
On Thursday, Gorka Villar – one of the specially appointed eight-person Fifa Reform Group – was accused of attempted extortion by eight South American football clubs. He is the son of Angel Villar Llona, the anti-reform Spanish Fifa executive committee member.
Swiss authorities have also agreed to the extradition to the US of Eugenio Figueredo, one of the seven Fifa executives to be dragged from their beds at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich in May.
Until this week, only the Cayman Islands banker and Concacaf president, Jeffrey Webb, had been successfully extradited.
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