A leaked hand-written letter, supposedly penned by FIFA General Secretary Jérôme Valcke to ex-FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, added new weight to the latter’s claim that FIFA President Sepp Blatter acted improperly in awarding him the Caribbean’s World Cup television rights.
The alleged Valcke letter, revealed exclusively by British investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, suggests that Blatter attempted to hide details of the television deal from the FIFA Executive Committee.
However, a FIFA official said its laws allow the President to make such decisions without the knowledge of its Executive Committee and deny that Blatter tried to defraud the world’s governing football body for the Trinidad and Tobago MP’s benefit.
Warner, who quit FIFA last June in the wake of a bribery scandal, has purchased World Cup television rights for the nominal fee of US$1 since the 1998 edition of the tournament. This deal was first exposed by former FIFA General Secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen in May 2002 and then resuscitated by Warner, earlier this month, when he claimed it was used to buy his political support.
Blatter insisted that the deal was not unusual for FIFA and was meant to aid the development of football in the region.
The letter, allegedly from Valcke, stated: “Here is the agreement signed by the P. This deal has not been through all normal boards or comm. Hence so I’m asking to make no publicity on it for the time being. Kind regards, Jžr™me.”
“P” is thought to refer to President Blatter and the undated letter is believed to refer to rights for the 2010 and 2014 competitions.
Warner is believed to have subsequently re-sold the rights for around US$20 million.
FIFA has not denied the letter was penned by its General Secretary but replied that Blatter is authorized to sign contracts without approval from his Executive Committee.
“(The letter) seems to be authentic, but we cannot confirm that,” an unnamed FIFA spokesman told Jennings. “… Blatter has the right to sign contracts which can be presented to the executive committee or the relevant committee.
“If Jack Warner is asked not to go public with the agreement then (that is) only to inform the relevant boards first.”