The Associated Press has reported that FIFA spent $11.7 million in under three years on private jets and luxury sight-seeing trips for one of FIFA’s top officials in a newly published legal document.
Former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was urged in a 2013 internal memo to find “more cost efficient alternatives whenever possible,” according to the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict.
Overuse of flying private jets along with ordering luxury class travel for Valcke’s son played a role in Valcke being banned by the FIFA ethics comittee in 2016, the year he was fired. Valcke broke FIFA rules four times flying unnecessary private jets with more than one guest without repaying the extra cost. Flights included a trip to India to the Taj Mahal, a meeting with the Emir of Qatar in Doha, and bringing family to the World Cup Qualifier in 2015 to St. Petersburg, Russa.
Valcke also helped his son, Sebastian, with his business career in a deal to supply equipment to a fan zone in Rio de Janeiro during the 2014 World Cup. Also noted, Valcke’s interventions helping to place a World Cup contract worth an initial $709,000 were linked to his son’s business practices.
Valcke told the court that he followed advice about the Russian trip from then FIFA president Sepp Blatter “to not travel on commercial flights to avoid arrest.” Weeks earlier, American and Swiss federal prosecutors unveiled investigations of corruption linked to FIFA officials.
This was “manifestly not a valid reason for a law-abiding individual,” the panel of three CAS judges wrote. Swiss prosecutors announced criminal proceedings against Valcke in 2016 and 2017 for financial wrongdoing, which are ongoing.