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Is FIFA’s personnel purge backfiring? Kattner to sue FIFA for unfair dismissal

By Andrew Warshaw

September 28 – Markus Kattner (pictured), FIFA’s former secretary general who was sacked in highly controversial circumstances by the new administration of Gianni Infantino, has reportedly begun legal action to challenge the “unjustified” move.

The 46-year-old, who was also FIFA’s financial chief, was fired with immediate effect on May 23 – apparently without a personal hearing.

The following month, it was revealed that Kattner, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter and ex-secretary general Jerome Valcke were the beneficiaries of a massive private bonus scheme. Yet Kattner was shown the door before, not after, news of the scheme was officially made public, fuelling speculation that the real reason for his sacking was that he had fallen out with new FIFA president Gianni Infantino for having the temerity to question how Infantino was managing his own expenses.

“Mr Kattner has begun legal proceedings before the competent court in Zurich as he believes his dismissal to be unfair,” a source close to the German told AFP. “Since his dismissal in May, Mr. Kattner has not received any reason from FIFA justifying his dismissal without notice.”

FIFA’s ethics investigators  opened a formal investigation into the $80 million scheme  that Blatter, Valcke and Kattner awarded themselves over a five year period after FIFA’s American lawyers Quinn Emmanuel, the firm hired to conduct an investigation into alleged widespread corruption, released details of the bonuses ,saying the trio had made “a coordinated effort” to “enrich themselves” between 2011 and 2015.

But those close to Kattner have always maintained that the compensation payments were perfectly above board and did not break a single FIFA statute. They point out that FIFA’s auditors never flagged up any wrongdoing and that the bonus programme was part of FIFA’s official compensation policy.  That was backed up by the AFP source who said the payments were “compliant with FIFA’s code and approved by the compensation committee”.

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