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Sepp Blatter and Jerome Valcke, for years FIFA’s all-powerful top two, have been hit with new suspensions from the global game by the ethics committee of the world football federation.

A statement indicated that both the ex-president and former secretary-general Jerome Valcke must start new bans of six years and eight months for financial wrongdoing after their current suspensions expire.

Both have also ordered to pay fines of 1million Swiss francs ($1.07 million) within 30 days though this is lagely academic in the circumstances. FIFA cannot enforce the fine which would only become active were either man to seek to return to the game.

The new punishments have been imposed over the way in which – with the assistance of former finance director Markus Kattner – they awarded themselves contractual bonuses worth millions of dollars.

In June 2016 lawyers conducting an internal investigation said Blatter, Valcke and Kattner had benefited improperly from bonuses totalling a combined 79million Swiss francs (£55m) over the previous five years.

Denials

It was claimed that two clauses in contract extensions granted to Valcke and Kattner in April 2011, shortly before Blatter’s successful campaign for re-election against Mohammed Bin Hamman, were contrary to Swiss law. All three men have always denied wrongdoing.
Blatter, 85, underwent heart surgery in December, and was placed for one week in an induced coma.

He is now convalescing but has not been well enough to answer questions from Swiss prosecutors relating to the historic issues concerning various FIFA scandals.

He was banned initially in 2015 for financial wrongdoing and that suspension is due to expire in seven months’ time. This is when the new punishment will commence.

Frenchman Valcke, who was sacked by FIFA in January 2016 over various other issues was subsequently subjected to a 10-year ban which does not expire until October 2025.

Last October Valcke was handed a suspended 120-day jail sentence by a Swiss court over his mishandling of a World Cup TV rights deal.

Kattner, a German national, was banned by FIFA for 10 years last year for his role in the payments and bonuses scandal.

Blatter and Valcke can appeal to both FIFA and then to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

FIFA statement:

The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Mr Joseph S. Blatter, former FIFA President, and Mr Jérôme Valcke, former FIFA Secretary General, guilty of various violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).

The investigations into Messrs Blatter and Valcke covered various charges, in particular concerning bonus payments in relation to FIFA competitions that were paid to top FIFA management officials, various amendments and extensions of employment contracts, as well as reimbursement by FIFA of private legal costs in the case of Mr Valcke.

In its decisions, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that Mr Blatter had breached art. 15 (Duty of loyalty), art. 19 (Conflicts of interest) and art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts or other benefits) of the FCE, while Mr Valcke was found to have violated art. 15 (Duty of loyalty), art. 19 (Conflicts of interest), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts or other benefits) and art. 25 (Abuse of position) of the FCE.

In the calculation of the sanctions to be imposed, the adjudicatory chamber applied the principle of lex mitior and art. 11 of the 2018 edition of the FCE, which stipulates a maximum limit on the applicable sanction.

Consequently, Messrs Blatter and Valcke have both been sanctioned with bans from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for a period of six years and eight months. In addition, fines to the amount of CHF 1,000,000 have been imposed on both Messrs Blatter and Valcke.

The motivated decisions were notified to Messrs Blatter and Valcke today, and have also been published on legal.fifa.com.

As the previous bans from taking part in all football-related activity imposed on Messrs Blatter and Valcke by the independent Ethics Committee in 2015 and 2016 have not yet been purged, the bans notified today will only come into force upon the expiry of the previous bans (i.e. on 8 October 2021 and 8 October 2025, respectively).

Source: Keir Radnedge| AIPS Football Delegate

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