FIFA secretary general Valcke feels no guilt

Jerome Valcke

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke says that he felt no guilt over his involvement
in a $10 million transfer to a disgraced football official now being investigated
by US authorities.

Valcke added he would not resign straight away because of the corruption scandal
engulfing football’s world body but could leave when a new president takes over
from Sepp Blatter.

“I have nothing to blame myself for and I certainly do not feel guilty
so I do not even have to justify my innocence,” the French official told
the France Info radio station.

Valcke has become one of the key figures in the FIFA corruption scandal because
of a $10 million payment made by South Africa to North and Central American
(CONCACAF) football chief Jack Warner through football’s world body in 2008.

US investigators reportedly believe the money was a bribe in return for backing
for South Africa getting the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA has insisted it only acted as an intermediary between South Africa and
Warner who quit FIFA in 2011 over other corruption allegations.

Valcke said he only knew about the payment because he receives all correspondence
sent to FIFA but he did not authorise the transfer.

“I don’t have the power to authorise a payment, especially one of $10
million, and above all one that comes from another account separate from FIFA,”
said the 54-year-old official, who has been secretary general since 2007.

Valcke said the transfer was authorised by Julio Grondona, then head of the
FIFA finance committee. The controversial Argentine official died last year.
Warner was his deputy at the time.

South Africa says the $10 million was intended for an Africa diaspora development
project in the Caribbean which was handled by Warner now one of 14 people facing
charges in the United States over tens of millions of dollars of bribes.

South Africa’s Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said Wednesday that the payment
was “above board” and not a bribe.

“Following a decision by the South African government FIFA received a
letter demanding the withdrawal of $10 million from the budget of the organising
committee of the 2010 World Cup so that could go towards the Diaspora Legacy
Programme,” said Valcke.

“These funds were to be handled by the president of CONCACAF Jack Warner,
thus the money was sent to the accounts indicated by Jack Warner.”

Valcke said he was bemused as to how his name had been dragged into the story.

“It was not FIFA’s money, I don’t see what my role is in a story of corruption,”
he said.

“I had been named secretary general in 2007, I do not understand the reasoning,
where and how I was linked with a corruption scandal.”

FIFA leader Sepp Blatter, who resigned Tuesday, named Valcke to the post just
months after he had been “released’ as FIFA’s marketing director over a
costly legal battle with Mastercard.

Valcke, 54, often served as FIFA’s frontman in urging Brazil to speed up construction
and preparations for the World Cup last year.

Speaking of his own future, Valcke stated: “I have always said that I
was the secretary general of Sepp Blatter. There will be a new FIFA president
in early 2016. In general a president chooses his secretary general.”

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