Former FIFA vice-president Jim Boyce has repeated calls for football’s world governing body to deal strongly with any corruption allegations after its secretary general Jerome Valcke was placed on leave, pending an investigation by the organisation’s Ethics Committee.
Valcke, the right-hand man to outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter since 2007, is reported to have denied claims that he was involved in a scheme that intended to sell tickets for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil at above their face value.
The accusations made by former Israeli footballer and hospitality consultant Benny Alon are said to relate to a contract between JB Sports Marketing – a company for which Alon worked – and FIFA for Brazil 2014 ticket and hospitality packages.
Valcke has been released from his duties with immediate effect and, speaking to Omnisport, Boyce expressed his shock at the latest scandal to engulf FIFA after nine of its past and present officials were among 14 people indicted for racketeering conspiracy and corruption in May.
“Once again, as I stated many times during my term as vice-president of FIFA, it is very important that all allegations are scrutinised to the full and that anyone found guilty in any shape or form of any form of misdoing should be treated very, very strongly,” he said.
“When [the arrests in May] happened, I at the time said that FIFA needs strong leadership. I said that I was 100 per cent behind the investigations that were being carried out by the Swiss authorities and the US authorities. I make no apology for saying that.
“FIFA have got to fully establish their reputation again and, therefore, all allegations – irrespective of who it is involving – have got to be investigated in the strongest possible manner.
“I don’t want to accuse Valcke of anything – you can’t do that until someone is found guilty.
“But once again, as I reiterated during my term as vice-president of FIFA, it is important that FIFA re-establishes its reputation throughout the world.”
Ex-Irish Football Association president Boyce accepted the role of Britain’s FIFA vice-president in 2011 and was succeeded by former Manchester United chief executive David Gill.
Around this time, the Zurich arrests and Blatter’s early June resignation dominated global headlines.
Boyce is pleased to see investigations taking place but believes FIFA has plenty of work ahead if it is to restore a battered reputation.
“FIFA needs a complete root-and-branch investigation and I have always said that I have no problem with independent people looking into that whole situation,” he explained.
“There’s more and more of this seemingly every week. You’re hearing more allegations with more people that are involved at FIFA.
“It’s more important than ever that the right person takes over as president of FIFA and that the people who are appointed to FIFA are given fully authority to deal with the past in the strongest possible manner.
“At least now there is an Ethics Committee. There certainly has been a lot that I have seen for good in the last four years. People might say it’s too late but at least it’s being dealt with.
“There are a lot of very good people who work for FIFA – I’ve seen it – there’s a lot of very good people.
“Once the word FIFA is mentioned, too many people are tarred with the same brush and that’s not fair.
“But any allegations against any individual, I am 100 per cent behind full investigations being made.”