Former FIFA finance director and secretary general Markus Kattner given 10-year ban

Lausanne (AFP) – Markus Kattner, FIFA’s finance director under Sepp Blatter who also served as acting secretary general, has been banned from all football-related activity for 10 years and fined one million Swiss francs ($1.056m) after being found guilty of conflicts of interest and abusing his position, the sport’s world governing body announced Tuesday.

The punishment was handed down by FIFA’s ethics committee following an investigation opened in 2016 into German Kattner, the scandal-plagued body’s former president Blatter, and former secretary general Jerome Valcke.

“The investigation into Mr Kattner covered various charges concerning bonus payments in relation to FIFA competitions that were paid to top FIFA management officials (including Mr Kattner), various amendments to and extensions of employment contracts, reimbursement of private legal costs, and Mr Kattner’s duties as an official,” FIFA said in a statement.

“In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that Mr Kattner had breached article 19 (Conflicts of interest) and article 25 (Abuse of position) of the FIFA Code of Ethics and sanctioned him with a ban from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for a period of ten years. In addition, a fine in the amount of one million Swiss francs has been imposed on Mr Kattner.”

In his role as finance director, Kattner was accused along with Blatter and Valcke of being involved in a coordinated effort to “enrich themselves” to the tune of more than $80 million in often suspicious payments over a five-year period.

The disgraced Blatter and Valcke have already been banned from involvement in the sport. Blatter, who is 84, was president of FIFA between 1998 and 2015.

Kattner, now 49, joined FIFA in 2003. He was fired in May 2016 after FIFA started looking into millions of dollars of payments that the finance director, and acting general secretary after Valcke’s departure, awarded himself.

Kattner later took legal action in a bid to overturn his dismissal, calling it “unjustified”.

Blatter was banned for eight years, later reduced to six, for an illicit payment of two million Swiss francs made to former UEFA president Michel Platini.

The payment was made in 2011, when Blatter was seeking re-election as president, but was related to work carried out by Platini between 1999 and 2002.

The pair were found guilty of “abusive execution” of their powers and a conflict of interests. Platini was banned for four years.

Frenchman Valcke was given a 12-year ban, later reduced to 10 years, in September 2015 following a scandal involving the resale of 2014 World Cup tickets. He was also found to have used FIFA money to travel on private jets for personal use.

Blatter and Valcke are also currently the subject of a separate Swiss investigation into the former’s payment to Platini.

In addition, Valcke is set to go on trial in a Swiss court in September along with Paris Saint-Germain president, and head of Qatari television channel beIN Sports, Nasser Al-Khelaifi in a corruption case.

The case relates to alleged criminal mismanagement, incitement to criminal mismanagement, falsifying documents and corruption in relation to the award of media rights to the 2026 and 2030 World Cups.