By Andrew Warshaw
November 12 – Just over a year after being hammered by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), Jerome Valcke, the forgotten man of world football mismanagement, is refusing to give up and is reported to be going to the European Court of Human Rights in a final attempt to have his 10-year ban from the game overturned and clear his name.
Valcke, number two to Sepp Blatter from 2007-2015 and for years FIFA’s charismatic go-to troubleshooter before being snared by ethics prosecutors, was fired in January 2016 over the sale of World Cup tickets, abuse of travel expenses, attempting to sell TV rights below their market value and destruction of evidence.
He has already appealed unsuccessfully at both CAS and the Swiss Supreme Court but is not quite finished with French media quoting his lawyer as saying an appeal was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on November 2.
When it rejected his appeal in May, the Swiss Supreme Court turned down his claim that he was denied a fair trial at CAS. Valcke was ordered to pay CHF18,000 in federal court costs and CHF20,000 to FIFA.
Valcke, who has long denied all wrongdoing, is still implicated in a criminal investigation by Swiss federal prosecutors including an allegation that he was bribed with the use of a luxury villa in Italy in a World Cup broadcast rights deal allegedly involving Paris St Germain president and global football powerbroker Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
When CAS issued its full written judgement 14 months ago dismissing Valcke’s appeal against his 10-year ban, it said FIFA had spent $11.7 million in less than three years on private jets and noted Valcke broke FIFA rules four times by flying unnecessarily by exactly these means without repaying the extra cost.
The flights included a sightseeing trip to the Taj Mahal, a meeting with the Emir of Qatar in Doha, and taking his family and a children’s nanny to the World Cup qualifying draw in July 2015 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
All this, said CAS, despite in 2013 then FIFA director of finance Markus Kattner cautioning Valcke to find “more cost efficient alternatives whenever possible.”
The judging panel said Valcke’s further “grave misconduct” of exploring a black market ticket deal for the World Cup in Brazil was worth a 10-year ban in itself.
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