Fifa suspends Jerome Valcke after ticket allegations
It’s believed the Fifa official planned to resell 2014 World Cup Tickets for a lucrative profit.
ZURICH - World football body Fifa put Jerome Valcke, its second-ranking official, on leave on Thursday just hours after an ex-footballer raised allegations he was involved in a plan to resell 2014 World Cup tickets for a lucrative profit.
Fifa, which has been rocked by Swiss and US corruption investigations, said in a statement it was made aware of allegations involving Valcke and had requested a formal investigation by the Fifa ethics committee.
The swift action against his second-in-command is another major blow for Fifa President Sepp Blatter as questions about corruption during his 17-year reign build.
The allegations against Valcke come on top of probes by the US Department of Justice and the Swiss Attorney General's Office into corruption at Fifa after the indictment of 14 senior football officials and sports marketing executives in May.
Blatter announced in June only days after the unveiling of the US indictment that he would be stepping down as president following an election in February.
Earlier on Thursday, former Israeli football player Benny Alon said at a news conference in Zurich that he agreed in 2013 to pay cash to Valcke to secure plum World Cup tickets in Brazil. He said the plan was to then sell the tickets to fans at a markup and split the proceeds with Valcke.
Alon said the deal fell through and he never paid the football official. Reuters could not independently confirm Alon's claims.
Valcke "unequivocally" denied the allegations as "fabricated and outrageous" in a statement from his US lawyer Barry Berke.
"Mr. Valcke never received or agreed to accept any money or anything else of value from Mr. Alon," the statement said.
Fifa controls the rights to sell all the World Cup tickets and has sanctioned officials in the past for reselling the coveted World Cup spots at a higher price.
Earlier this week US and Swiss authorities said they were expanding their corruption investigations and more arrests were expected.