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FIFA secretary general Valcke expects to leave with Blatter

FILE - In this July 23, 2011 file photo, FIFA President Sepp Blatter, left, and CONMEBOL President Nicolas Leoz, right, stand on the pitch before the start of the Copa America third-place soccer match between Venezuela and Peru in La Plata, Argentina. Loez's lawyer said Thursday, July 23, 2015, that U.S. prosecutors in New York have asked Paraguay to extradite the former president of South America's soccer confederation and one of those charged in a corruption scandal being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano, File)

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Jerome Valcke expects to leave his job as FIFA secretary general after Sepp Blatter’s successor is elected.

Valcke, however, said Friday it is not because he is responsible for any wrongdoing in the crisis that has shaken the governing body.

The Frenchman has served for eight years as the top administrator at FIFA, which is at the center of criminal investigations by American and Swiss authorities.

The weight of the corruption probes and sponsors’ concerns led to Blatter announcing June 2 he will leave FIFA, a move that came four days after he was re-elected to serve a fifth, four-year term. A successor to Blatter, who has headed the governing body since 1998, is to be elected on Feb. 26.

“Whoever becomes the FIFA president should have a new secretary general because it’s the most important relationship for the organization,” Valcke said in St. Petersburg ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw. “About my future, I would say that at least I can have some privacy in regards of whatever questions you are asking, and what I want do with my life is just a question about me and myself.”

The questions in recent weeks have centered on Valcke’s direct links to payments totaling $10 million from FIFA accounts which the U.S. Department of Justice said were bribes to FIFA executive committee members to vote for South Africa as the 2010 World Cup host.

Valcke began his job several months before the money transfers in early 2008 to accounts controlled by former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.

FIFA and Valcke said the cash was believed to be for soccer projects for the African diaspora in the Caribbean, and was approved by Julio Grondona of Argentina, the chairman of FIFA’s finance committee, who died last year.

Valcke has denied wrongdoing and did not discuss the specifics of the case on Friday but stressed he only carries out the orders of the FIFA congress and the executive committee.

“As the head of the administration I can be proud of what FIFA’s administration has done and FIFA’s administration, I don’t think, has ever been part of any of the stories which are around FIFA, including all the commercial agreements we have signed from (2007-15),” Valcke said. “I have not seen anything which is related to any wrongdoings by the FIFA administration regarding any commercial aspect of FIFA during this period.

“So what you are asking me, if I am responsible for what has happened this last time, I don’t think that I am really involved, and I don’t think that I have anything to do in this case.”


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