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FIFA's lawyers claim Sepp Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner wrongly profited by £55m from FIFA

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FIFA claims Sepp Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner wrongly profited by £55m

FIFA's lawyers claim Sepp Blatter, Jerome Valcke and Markus Kattner wrongly profited by £55m from the organisation in the past five years.

Former FIFA president Blatter, former secretary general Valcke and former deputy secretary general Kattner "enriched" themselves, according to investigators, with a series of salary increases, bonuses and incentives, some of which broke the law.

Asked to comment on the claims, Blatter's spokesman Klaus Stoehlker told Sky Sports News HQ: "My job for Blatter is finished. The FIFA volcano is exploding." Contacted directly, Blatter refused to comment.

But a statement from American lawyer Richard Cullen on behalf of Blatter said: "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." 

It is claimed bonuses connected to the Russia World Cup 2018 were paid - even though the tournament does not take place for another two years.

Blatter's final words were: 'I'll be back'
Image: Blatter is one of three men accused of wrongly profiting by £55m from FIFA

"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 CHF 79m [£55m] - in just the last five years," said Bill Burck, a partner with Quinn Emanuel, the lawyers appointed to conduct the investigation.

A statement from FIFA read: "It is clear that the preliminary findings indicate that the payments and contracts warrant considerable further investigation.

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Image: Jerome Valcke was banned in February from all football activities for 12 years

"FIFA has shared this information with the Office of the Swiss Attorney General and it will brief the U.S. Department of Justice on the matters as well."

The Swiss Attorney General confirmed on Friday afternoon that it carried out a raid on FIFA headquarters on Thursday. Sky sources understand Kattner's old office was the target of the raid. 

The FIFA statement goes on to say that "it is clear that there isn't just one contract for each official. There are multiple amendments to contracts often approved in close sequence.

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - FEBRUARY 26:  FIFA Acting Secretary General Markus Kattner talks during the Extraordinary FIFA Congress at Hallenstadion on February
Image: Markus Kattner was fired by FIFA last month over bonus payments

"Additionally, these various contracts were often entered into by Messers Blatter, Valcke and Mr Kattner on the very same day. And more importantly, these dates were very ominous."

As examples, the investigators point to eight-and-a-half-year contract extensions given to Valcke and Kattner in 2011, shortly before Blatter was facing a serious challenge in his bid to be re-elected president from Mohamed Bin Hammam.

Valcke, 55, and Kattner, 45, were also given generous severance terms that guaranteed them full payment in case their employment with FIFA was terminated, which was likely had Blatter not be re-elected.

Sepp Blatter arrives at his news conference
Image: Blatter is appealing to CAS over his existing six-year ban and denies wrongdoing

The investigators claim these contracts contained clauses which were illegal under Swiss law.

Blatter, Valcke and Kattner, according to the investigators, also received a combined total of £16m in bonuses four months after the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, despite the absence of any bonus clauses relating to the tournament being in their contract.

In 2011, it is claimed Valcke and Kattner were awarded a combined £9.7m in bonuses relating to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and Blatter received £8.4m. And in 2014 Blatter, Valcke and Kattner were made eligible for a combined £10.8m in bonuses relating to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Blatter timeline
Blatter timeline

Timeline leading to resignation of FIFA boss

The payments, effectively signed off by the three men themselves, went through the payroll and HR departments at FIFA but not the legal department.

German Kattner's contract with FIFA was terminated on 23 May for breaches of "fiduciary duty" - paying himself bonuses.

Blatter, 80, was banned from football for eight years - reduced to six years on appeal - for paying Michel Platini £1.3m in a 'disloyal payment'. Blatter denies wrongdoing and says he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to clear his name.

In February this year, Frenchman Valcke was banned from all football-related activities for 12 years for a string of offences relating to World Cup tickets and television rights plus the use of a private jet for personal reasons.

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