Zurich - Sitting on the top of a mountain of football cash, Sepp Blatter,
Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner unilaterally awarded themselves bonuses
and contracts worth millions of dollars.
Details of a FIFA
investigation revealed on Friday that the trio, who formed the pinnacle
of the FIFA power pyramid, plotted "to enrich themselves" and ensure a
comfortable future in case they lost their jobs. They gave themselves
$80 million (79 million Swiss francs) in the past five years alone.
the last year, however, former FIFA president Blatter, Valcke, his
number two as secretary general, and finance director Kattner have been
fired or booted out of office and now face growing scrutiny from Swiss
and US prosecutors.
"The evidence appears to reveal a coordinated
effort by three former top officials of FIFA to enrich themselves
through annual salary increases, World Cup bonuses and other incentives
totalling more than $80 million - in just the
last five years," said Bill Burck, a partner with the Quinn Emanuel
FIFA, now led by Gianni Infantino, even created a
compensation subcommittee in 2013 but they failed to rein in the illicit
awarding of "massive" and "undue" payouts.
"There are multiple amendments to contracts often approved in close sequence," said a FIFA account of the investigation so far.
these various contracts were often entered into by Messers Blatter,
Valcke and Kattner on the very same day. And more importantly, these
dates were very ominous."
On April 30, 2011, just before a FIFA
presidential election when it was not certain Blatter would get a new
four-year term, Valcke and Kattner were given 8.5-year contract
extensions until 2019 "with big increases in their base salaries and
They also got "generous severance terms that guaranteed
them full payment - up to 17.5 million Swiss francs and 9.8 million
Swiss francs respectively - in case their employment with FIFA" was
terminated, the likely consequence should Blatter not have been
If their jobs were terminated the two would receive the
full value of their contracts "even if they were terminated for just
cause". FIFA would also pay their legal fees and other costs - two
clauses the report described as appearing "to violate mandatory Swiss
Swiss prosecutors consequently said they were investigating
the contracts of the trio, but Blatter's lawyer denied accusations of
"We look forward to showing FIFA that Mr. Blatter's
compensation payments were proper, fair and in line with the heads of
major professional sports leagues around the world," lawyer Richard
Cullen said in a statement.
eventually dismissed last year over allegations of involvement in the
black market sale of 2014 World Cup tickets. He also signed off on a $10
million transfer made by South Africa to disgraced Caribbean football
baron Jack Warner that US investigators suspect was a bribe to get
support for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.
sacked on May 23 after FIFA started looking into millions of dollars of
payments that the finance director, and acting general secretary after
Valcke's departure, awarded himself.
As finance director he had
the authority to tell his subordinates in the payroll and HR department
"how much should be paid out and to whom".
FIFA earns more than $5
billion in revenues in the four years between each World Cup. The
leading trio had their share, according to their contracts.
December 1, 2010, Blatter, Valcke and Kattner received 23 million Swiss
francs in "special bonuses" after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The payments were awarded "retroactively" and "apparently without an underlying contract provision stipulating such bonuses".
October 2011, Valcke and Kattner were awarded a combined 14 million
Swiss francs in bonuses for the 2014 World Cup and in June 2014 they
were made eligible for a combined 15.5 million Swiss francs in bonuses
for the 2018 World Cup.
Swiss authorities searched Kattner's
former FIFA office on Thursday. FIFA said they will also inform US
authorities, who have already charged about 40 individuals and two
companies over football corruption and are continuing to investigate.