FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke suspended
World soccer body FIFA put Secretary General Jerome Valcke on leave on Thursday just hours after an ex-footballer raised allegations Valcke may have been involved in an improper deal to resell 2014 World Cup tickets for a lucrative profit.
FIFA, which has been rocked by ongoing corruption investigations by Swiss and U.S. authorities, said in a statement it was made aware of allegations involving Valcke and has requested a formal investigation by the FIFA ethics committee.
FIFA did not specify what allegations they were referring to in the statement, which said Valcke would be “released from his duties effective immediately until further notice.”
Valcke’s lawyer later said that Valcke denied allegations about the sale of World Cup tickets.
Earlier on Thursday, former Israeli soccer player Benny Alon said at a news conference in Zurich that he agreed in 2013 to pay cash to Valcke to secure plum World Cup tickets. He said the plan was to then sell the tickets to fans at a markup and split the proceeds with Valcke.
Alon said the deal fell through and he never paid the soccer official any cash. Reuters could not independently confirm Alon’s claims.
FIFA controls the rights to sell all the World Cup tickets and has sanctioned officials in the past for reselling the coveted World Cup spots at a higher price.
Alon’s allegations come on top of ongoing probes by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Swiss Attorney General’s Office into corruption at FIFA following the indictment of 14 senior soccer officials and sports marketing executives in May.
Earlier this week U.S. and Swiss authorities said they were expanding the investigations and more arrests were expected Valcke faces no charges in either the U.S. or Swiss investigations of FIFA.