By Andrew Warshaw
August 18 – Eighteen months after being sacked, former FIFA number two Jerome Valcke has broken his long silence by wading into the debate over Sepp Blatter’s suggestion that a plot to remove him was hatched well before the US-led investigation into football-related corruption that ultimately led to his downfall.
Last week the German news magazine Der Spiegel claimed FIFA had advance warning of the impeding US Department of Justice assault on corrupt officials within its organisation and had taken steps to defend itself via an eight-page protective contract with top US law firm Quinn Emmanuel.
Blatter says that he knew nothing of the agreement and had no prior warning of the US indictments against more than 40 FIFA officials and executives in related confederations in North and South America. He claims that it was part of a plot by senior disloyal colleagues and employees to remove him as president.
“It seems that people in FIFA knew that the United States threatened us, but they did not inform the boss,” Blatter told Swiss media after Der Spiegel’s revelations.
But Valcke, FIFA’s former general secretary who like his one-time boss is now banned from football, has reacted furiously at Blatter’s suggestion that he was betrayed over the contract which Der Spiegel claimed was signed off by legal chief Marco Villiger, then finance boss Markus Kattner and Valcke himself.
In an interview with the Norwegian news outlet Nettavisen, Valcke said of Blatter’s remarks: “This is a strong attack on me. It’s simply ridiculous that Blatter accuses me and says he did not know anything himself.
“Firstly, I do not remember this contract; secondly, it appears that the contract was signed to protect FIFA’s interests; thirdly, I have not signed a single important deal without Sepp Blatter knowing about it.
“Finally, I’m surprised that every time something appears, former colleagues have selective memory and throw all my guilt and responsibility upon me. I do not understand how I could spend 15 years in FIFA if I really was so terrible and all the shit in FIFA is due to me.”
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