Former ranking FIFA executive appeals ban F
ORMER FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke is testifying at the Court of Arbitration for Sport to challenge a 10-year ban from soccer for unethical conduct.
The CAS appeal hearing yesterday was expected to last eight hours. A verdict is likely within weeks.
Valcke, who was a FIFA marketing executive before becoming then-President Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man in 2007, declined to comment to media outside the court.
Valcke was fired by FIFA in January 2016 after being implicated in irregular World Cup ticket and broadcast rights sales, plus expense abuses including personal use of private flights.
The FIFA ethics committee banned him for 12 years, with an additional charge of destroying evidence. FIFA’s appeal panel cut the ban by two years because it judged the broadcasting deal charge was not proven.
Valcke, a French former TV presenter, denies wrongdoing and is also under criminal investigation by Switzerland’s attorney general. Proceedings were opened against Valcke in March 2016 “on suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement.”
A separate FIFA ethics case was opened in September 2016 to investigate Valcke, Blatter and former FIFA finance director Markus Kattner over contracted bonuses. Some World Cup bonuses over $10 million were due to be paid, and had been signed off by other FIFA officials.
FIFA SUSPENDS PAKISTAN In a separate development, FIFA yesterday suspended Pakistan from international soccer because of government interference after disputed national federation elections.
The Pakistan soccer federation’s “offices and its accounts remain in control of a court-appointed administrator,” FIFA said.
The ban cuts off funding from Zurich, and bars national and club teams and officials from international games and meetings.
Rules imposed by FIFA and its members prohibit outside influence on their independence. The rules can have the effect of protecting unpopular soccer officials from government intervention.
“It’s a sad day for Pakistan soccer, but I think government is not realizing the gravity of the problem,” Pakistan soccer federation president Faisal Saleh Hayat told the Associated Press.
“There is no shortcut to resolve this problem,” he said. “FIFA recognizes Faisal Saleh Hayat as head of PFF and if the government doesn’t stop intervening I think it will be a long suspension.”
Hayat’s re-election two years ago was challenged in court and has led to the FIFA suspension.
The suspension should also bar Hayat from duty at the Asian Football Confederation. He is an AFC executive committee member and chairs its legal committee.
According to FIFA records, Pakistan, 200th of 211 teams in the world rankings, have not played a full international since a 0-0 draw with Yemen in a World Cup qualifier in March 2015.
Pakistan has never played at a World Cup and was eliminated at the first stage of Asian qualifying. – AP