Former FIFA official Valcke appeals 10-year soccer ban

GENEVA (AP) Former FIFA official Jerome Valcke has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to overturn his 10-year ban from soccer for unethical conduct.

The court outlined a procedural timetable Tuesday that should take several months to reach a verdict.

Valcke's case will go ahead while he remains under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors in Switzerland. He is also an expected target witness in an American federal investigation of corruption implicating senior FIFA officials.

Valcke was fired as FIFA's secretary general in January 2016 after being implicated in irregular World Cup ticket and broadcast rights sales, plus expenses abuses including personal use of private flights.

The FIFA ethics committee later banned the French former TV presenter and marketing executive for 12 years, and also said he destroyed evidence during the investigation.

''Mr. Valcke acted against FIFA's best interests and caused considerable financial damage to FIFA, while his private and personal interests detracted him from his ability to properly perform his duties,'' the ethics committee said when ruling in February 2016.

Valcke is now challenging a FIFA appeal committee ruling to cut the sanction by two years. Though his initial appeal verdict was announced in July, he received the written reasons from FIFA only this month, CAS said.

Valcke has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in statements issued by his United States-based lawyers.

The FIFA ethics investigation was provoked by allegations in September 2015 that Valcke sought to profit from a black market ticket deal for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The deal, with a contracted FIFA ticketing partner, later fell through and no money was paid.

FIFA was also conducting an internal investigation into his conduct as right-hand man to former president Sepp Blatter since 2007.

His main role was overseeing the troubled preparations for the ultimately successful 2010 and 2014 World Cups hosted by South Africa and Brazil, respectively.

However, the South African connection implicated him in a U.S. Department of Justice indictment which rocked FIFA, and eventually removed Blatter, when it was published in May 2015.

In 2008, Valcke's office transferred $10 million on behalf of South African World Cup officials to senior FIFA officials in North and Central America. American federal prosecutors allege they were payments in a bribery conspiracy for World Cup hosting votes.

Switzerland's attorney general's office opened a case against Valcke in March 2016 ''on suspicion of various acts of criminal mismanagement.''

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