A newly published legal document reveals that FIFA spent over $11.7 million on private jets for a top official, including various luxury sight-seeing trips.
In another instance of questionable behavior among FIFA officials, this legal document detailed the repeated use of private jets and inappropriate use of FIFA funds by Jerome Valcke. Valcke was formerly the FIFA secretary general until he was fired and banned from soccer in 2016 by the FIFA ethics committee. His appeal was rejected, and he remains banned from the sport. Valcke, according to the released document, was apparently warned in 2013 to seek “more cost-efficient alternatives [for travel] whenever possible.” This statement was included in explaining why his appeal against his ten-year ban was dismissed.
Over the course of three years, FIFA spent $11.7 million on Valcke’s unnecessary use of private jets for personal means, including trips to the Taj Mahal and St. Petersburg, Russia. Around the time of the Russia trip, American and Swiss federal prosecutors announced their investigations into corruption among FIFA officials, Valcke included. Prosecutors stated that the trips did not necessitate the use of private jets, and in 2016 and 2017, Swiss officials announced criminal proceedings against Valcke for financial wrongdoing. These proceedings are still underway.
There are 11,261 registered private jets in the United States, and the private aircraft used for the St. Petersburg trip cost $71,699. The governing body of FIFA was never reimbursed for this charge, nor the additional cost for bringing Valcke’s son from Brazil to Zurich to join the rest of his family for the trip. Valcke also reportedly helped his son financially during the 2014 World Cup through a deal involving supplying equipment to fans, creating a profound conflict of interest.
The results of this new information remain to be seen. With the proceedings over financial wrongdoing still underway, this newly released information could potentially weigh on the outcome. Ultimately, Valcke’s reckless spending and potential conflicts of interest could end him in severe legal trouble, not to mention further trouble for any potential future he has within the world of soccer.