FIFA is set to compensate a World Cup ticket tout almost £15m after an executive promised firm JB Sports Marketing (JBSM) thousands of top tickets for the football tournament.
FIFA’s former secretary general Jerome Valcke, the long-time right hand man of former president Sepp Blatter, was fired after being suspended in September 2015 amid a touting scandal.
Valcke stood accused at the time of breaking FIFA’s own rules in agreeing to supply tickets to the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups to JBSM, knowing the firm would sell them way above face value for profit.
JBSM had reportedly been selling World Cup tickets on the black market for major profits with the help of FIFA insiders since the 1990s. Valcke allegedly agreed to split the profits from 2014 and 2018.
Valke was expecting to receive a suitcase loaded with $500,000 in cash as part payment, though he denies agreeing to take any money from the touting.
However, these allegations were among many recently presented in a Court of Arbitration for Sport document upholding the 10-year-ban from football Valcke was handed for multiple FIFA ethics rule violations.
Separately, since 2015 JBSM has been engaged in a legal battle to sue FIFA, in effect, for the value of tickets promised to them by Valcke for the 2014 World Cup but never actually delivered. It is this case, with a final binding judgment by the Swiss Supreme Court, that FIFA owed JBSM $16.8m plus annual interest at five per cent for a total of around $18.6m or £14.7m.
Valcke’s promise of tickets was extensively documented via paperwork and emails, making his promise legally binding.
The Daily Mail reports that sources have confirmed that FIFA have already paid JBSM the £14.7m cash since the ruling in late November.
JBSM will now reportedly move forward with a second legal action to claim compensation for not receiving around 4,000 of the best tickets for this summer’s World Cup in Russia, also promised to them but not delivered. They were reportedly due to receive 1,000 premium seats for the World Cup final alone. The compensation claim for the 2018 tournament could be between $20m and $40m.
A FIFA spokesman confirmed on Saturday night that FIFA have paid JBSM, adding FIFA would ‘defend itself vigorously’ against future claims.
Image: Marco Verch