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LAUSANNE: The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on Friday dismissed former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke’s appeal against his 10-year ban for breaching the world football body’s code of ethics.

The court in Lausanne, Switzerland, said the ban and the 100,000 Swiss franc ($100,290) fine was “wholly appropriate,” and confirmed the decision made by FIFA’s Appeal Committee in 2016.

Valcke, who was former FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s top aide for eight years, was found to be involved in the resale of FIFA World Cup tickets and other ethics violations. His appeal was heard in October, and on Friday it was dismissed by CAS.

“The panel concluded that the offences found to have been committed by Jerome Valcke were cumulatively of a serious degree of gravity and that, therefore, the sanctions of a ten-year ban and fine of CHF 100,000 were wholly proportionate,” the court said in a statement.

The former TV presenter from France was a FIFA marketing executive being fired once before in 2006 before becoming then-president Blatter’s right-hand man the next year. Valcke was initially banned in June 2016 and launched his appeal in February of last year.

Valcke and Blatter were key figures in the massive graft scandal that rocked FIFA in 2015 and forced sweeping changes within world football’s governing body.

CAS said there was evidence supporting charges that Valcke breached FIFA’s ethics rules “in the resale of FIFA World Cup tickets, in relation to his travel expenses, his involvement in a transaction between FIFA and a software development company, an offer of an improper benefit to the regional football union and his failure to cooperate with the FIFA investigation.”

Subsequent investigations by FIFA’s new management have also implicated Valcke in millions of dollars worth of unregulated spending, notably on private jets.

Separately, he has been implicated in a Swiss criminal investigation involving the possible illegal sale of World Cup media rights to beIN media, whose chairman Nasser al-Khelaifi is also the president of Paris St Germain.

The FIFA ethics committee banned Valcke for 12 years, with an additional charge of destroying evidence. FIFA’s appeal panel cut the ban by two years because it judged the broadcasting deal charge was not proven.

Valcke denied all wrongdoing.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2018