September 16 – FIFA’s former number two Jerome Valcke told the second day of his tv rights corruption trial how he had struggled “with no income” since losing his job as Sepp Blatter’s right-hand man.
Valcke, former FIFA general secretary, is in the dock along with Paris Saint-Germain president and beIN Media Group supremo Nasser Al-Khelaifi, both of whom have denied any wrongdoing over alleged collusion regarding the attribution of World Cup rights.
Valcke, who could go to jail if found guilty, told the court he had been seriously affected by his 10-year FIFA ban for ethics violations.
Revealing details of his personal life, Valcke, not so long ago the go-to trouble-shooter under Blatter, said he had taken a huge financial hit.
“Without work, with a family, I assure you that the money burns very quickly,” he told the judges, adding that he had had to sell his luxury yacht and jewellery.
The 59-year-old Frenchman said he had been “unable to open a bank account in Europe” since 2017 and divorced a year later so that his wife could.
“I have started an agriculture project in a country and I hope that the harvests will provide income in the coming months,” he explained, declining to give more detail, claiming that “two or three other attempts” to make a fresh start had been “polluted” by the intervention of FIFA.
Valcke stands accused of wanting to transfer the Middle East and North Africa rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups to beIN Media, in exchange for “unwarranted benefits” from Al-Khelaifi. He also faces a second charge of TV rights corruption in association with Greek businessman Dinos Deris.
Al-Khelaifi is charged with inciting Valcke to commit “aggravated criminal mismanagement” but hasn’t yet appeared to give evidence.
Before Valcke took the stand, the three trial judges rejected the defence’s request to have the case thrown out.
The defence had argued that the trial had been “contaminated” by those much-publicised undocumented meetings between Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber and current FIFA president Gianni Infantino, prompting the former to resign.
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