ZURICH (Reuters) – FIFA said on Tuesday it had reduced the bans imposed on two senior officials, including its former secretary general, who were barred from taking part in soccer-related activities following a corruption investigation.
Former secretary general Jerome Valcke was handed a ban of 12 years while another official, Chung Mong-joon, was given a six-year ban in a corruption scandal at the heart of FIFA which led to several dozen people, including senior football officials, being indicted.
Valcke, who was right-hand man to FIFA’s now-banned president Sepp Blatter for eight years, was found guilty of misconduct over the sale of World Cup tickets, abuse of travel expenses, attempting to sell TV rights below their market value and destruction of evidence.
He and Chung, a former Fifa vice-president, were excluded from soccer by the Zurich-based FIFA after being found guilty of breaching its code of conduct.
On Tuesday, FIFA’s appeal committee mainly confirmed the decisions taken by the ethics committee but said it had cut the ban on Valcke from 12 to 10 years because of “mitigating factors”.
It said the ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber had not sufficiently considered mitigating factors when assessing the Frenchman’s attempt to grant TV and media rights in the Caribbean for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups to a third party for a fee far below their actual market value.
A FIFA spokesman declined to say what these mitigating factors were.
The appeals committee reduced the suspension on Chung, a Korean, from six to five years, saying there was insufficient evidence to prove he had breached an article of FIFA’s ethics code covering confidentiality. The committee partially confirmed its decision from last October where Chung was found guilty of infringing four other articles.
It confirmed a fine of 100,000 Swiss francs on Valcke but reduced that on Chung from 100,000 Swiss francs to 50,000 Swiss francs.
(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Richard Balmforth)