FIFA Suspends Secretary After Ticket Price Claims

     (CN) – FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke has been placed on leave, the organization announced Thursday, following claims that World Cup tickets were being sold above face value.
     Valcke has been “released from his duties effective immediately until further notice,” according to a FIFA press release. The two-sentence release also says “FIFA has been made aware of a series of allegations involving the secretary general and has requested a formal investigation by the FIFA Ethics Committee.”
     A former FIFA ticketing partner claimed earlier Thursday that top-tier World Cup tickets were being sold at three times the face value, according to an Associated Press report. The Guardian reports that documents it looked at suggest that Valcke was going to be the beneficiary of an agreement to sell tickets at inflated prices.
     A class action lawsuit filed last week makes similar allegations. It claims that FIFA made hundreds of millions of dollars by overcharging U.S. fans who bought tickets to the 2014 Men’s World Cup in Brazil. Lead plaintiff Vicky Palivos said she paid $736 per ticket – $2,944 total for four tickets – each of which had a face value of $135.
     Valcke’s suspension comes three months after former FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced his resignation amid a corruption scandal. U.S. prosecutors said in June that they believe Valcke made $10 million in bank transactions in 2008 related to a bribery scandal. They did not charge him with any wrongdoing at the time.
     Fourteen people, including high-ranking FIFA officials, were indicted in May on corruption charges announced by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, including accusations that they took kickbacks for the broadcast of international soccer tournaments. Lynch accused the defendants of having “corrupted the world of soccer.”

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