Jerome Valcke
Jerome Valcke

Geneva: FIFA announced the suspension of Secretary-General Jerome Valcke, saying he was being released from his duties effective immediately. Valcke was suspended because soccer’s world governing body “has been made aware of a series of allegations involving the secretary-general and has requested a formal investigation by the FIFA Ethics Committee,” according to a statement released on Thursday.

The Frenchman, FIFA’s secretary-general since 2007, is accused, according to media reports on Thursday, of involvement in a scheme to sell tickets for World Cup matches at prices far above their face value. The decision to suspend Valcke “until further notice” deepens the crisis at FIFA four months after the US justice department announced charges including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies against 14 soccer officials and corporate executives.

Among those charged in May were nine FIFA officials, including current and former vice-presidents of soccer’s governing body. Seven of them were arrested in late May in Zurich, one of whom — Uruguayan Eugenio Figueredo, a former FIFA vice-president — faces possible extradition to the US after Switzerland approved the move on Thursday. Figueredo can still appeal the ruling. FIFA is scheduled to hold a special assembly in February to choose a successor to outgoing President Sepp Blatter, who was re-elected for a fifth term in late May but said days later that he would resign amid the ongoing corruption scandal.

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