FIFA has fired secretary general Jerome Valcke, who is under investigation for misconduct, world football’s governing body said Wednesday.
The former right-hand man to Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president banned for eight years, has been accused of aiding a scheme to sell 2014 World Cup tickets on the black market.
“The FIFA emergency committee decided, on 9 January 2016, to dismiss Jerome Valcke from the position of FIFA secretary general with immediate effect,” said a statement.
It said all of the Frenchman’s employment with FIFA had been “terminated.”
Valcke was suspended on September 17 after the ethics committee started an inquiry into allegations that he helped sell 2014 World Cup tickets on the black market. The suspension was renewed on January 6.
He has also been linked to a $10 million payment made by South Africa to corruption-tainted former Caribbean football chief Jack Warner. US investigators reportedly believe this was a bribe to secure votes for the 2010 World Cup.
Last week, FIFA’s ethics court opened formal proceedings against Valcke over the alleged black market ticket scheme, after world football’s investigators said they had evidence justifying a nine-year ban.
The Frenchman was also facing a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs ($99,000/92,000 euros).
Valcke has denied all wrongdoing and his US lawyer Barry Berke has blasted FIFA for ignoring his client’s “exemplary conduct and extraordinary contributions during his long tenure as secretary general”.
FIFA said that Markus Kattner will continue to serve as acting secretary general of a body currently fighting scandals on several fronts.
US authorities have charged 39 individuals — including top FIFA executive members — and two companies over bribery in football contracts.
Blatter is under criminal investigation in Switzerland for criminal mismanagement over a two million Swiss francs ($2 million/1.8 million euro) payment to FIFA vice president Michel Platini. Both have been banished from football for eight years.
On September 24, the day before the Swiss attorney general announced that Blatter was the target of a criminal probe, FIFA agreed to turn over Valcke’s professional emails to prosecutors in Bern.
Switzerland is also investigating the attribution of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively.
Valcke is no stranger to controversy having also been sacked in 2006 over a battle with credit card sponsors Mastercard.
Valcke negotiated a deal with Visa that excluded long-time sponsors Mastercard. FIFA had to pay $90 million in compensation.