FIFA's Jerome Valcke

AP Image

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years, you know that FIFA is corrupt. The US Justice System has gotten involved and really spiced up the situation. FIFA officials have avoided the United States, skipped the Women’s World Cup, and just generally have been stuck on high alert. The news had settled down for awhile, until recently, when FIFA announced that Secretary General Jerome Valcke had been relieved of his duties.

Valcke has long been the right hand man for kingpin Sepp Blatter. He has been in sports administration since 1991 when he was employed as the deputy chief of sport at Canal+. He was first hired to FIFA in 2003, where he was the Director of Marketing & TV. It wasn’t long before we saw our first hint of bribery and corruption. In 2006 FIFA was hit with a lawsuit from Visa and MasterCard over sponsorship agreements. Valcke was essentially fired over the eventual $90 million lawsuit, although Sepp Blatter said he was “released, not fired.” Either way, he was released from FIFA on December 12th, 2006, along with three other employees.

A mere 6 months later however, Valcke was re-hired/appointed to be FIFA’s General Secretary in June 2007. Many were surprised by the move, although it makes a lot more sense in hindsight, given the corruption being brought to light. 2011 brought more allegations with the Qatar bid, something that has continued up into 2015.

Earlier in 2015, Jack Warner, a FIFA VP, was indicted and is suspected of providing incriminating evidence on Blatter and Valcke. Warner has put all his cards on the table, admitting that his vote was bought for South Africa 2010, although the Qatari bid is still up in the air. It has been months since this news broke, which leads to curiosity as to why Valcke was just now relieved of his duties.

Sepp Blatter has made it known that he intends on stepping down with the new election in February, which means that Valcke wouldn’t be far behind anyways. That makes the timing of this “firing” very interesting. For those of us who are hoping for more indictments and change, this is a signal of something big about to break. Then again, FIFA doesn’t seem to do anything that makes much sense, so perhaps this is more of the norm.

As we said before, the new FIFA president will be elected in February. There are a host of people who have thrown their hat in the ring. Prince Ali, the man who stood against Blatter a few months ago, is running again. Longtime UEFA leader Michel Platini will be putting his foot forward as a candidate as well. There are others as well, but these two seem like the two heavyweights who will be fighting in the final election.

There is still plenty of time until the election, and knowing it is FIFA, there are plenty of surprises that remain to be seen. We can only hope that if the corruption continues, it will be just as entertaining as the last few years have been.


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