Image: A FIFA sign is seen outside the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich
ZURICH (Reuters) – FIFA’s ethics watchdog has extended Secretary General Jerome Valcke’s suspension from world soccer as it prepares a ruling over accusations of corruption involving the sale of World Cup tickets.
The French administrator has denied any wrongdoing in the case, which is among dozens of allegations rocking soccer’s governing body, caught up in worst graft scandal of its history.
Investigators for the ethics committee recommended on Tuesday that Valcke be banned for nine years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs ($98,990.30).
The committee said in a statement on Wednesday that it’s chief judge Hans-Joachim Eckert had suspended Valcke for another 45 days pending a final judgement, after a previous 90-day ban expired. Valcke was also placed on indefinite leave by FIFA in September.
The allegations against Valcke stem from former Israeli football player Benny Alon telling a news conference in September in Zurich that he agreed in 2013 to pay cash to Valcke to secure plum tickets for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
He said the plan was to then sell the tickets to fans at a markup and split the proceeds with Valcke, who was right-hand man to banned president Sepp Blatter. Alon said the deal fell through and he never paid the football official.
Blatter has been banned from any involvement in the game for eight years.
Forty-one people and sports entities, including top FIFA officials, have been indicted by U.S. prosecutors for offences including corruption, fraud and money laundering.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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