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Soccer - 12 Apr 2021
Fifa has today welcomed a ruling by the Zurich Court of Labour in Switzerland over the dismissal in 2016 of Markus Kattner, the then acting secretary general of soccer's international governing body,
Citing a judgement from the court on 10 March, Fifa said that the decision was held to be "justified and appropriate."
The German official was fired from his role at Fifa following a protracted investigation into bonus payments at the federation, which also led, last July, to him being banned from all soccer activity for 10 years and fined SFr1 million ($1.06 million).
Kattner took up the option of an appeal to the Labour Court.
An internal review five years ago had uncovered evidence that Fifa’s then-president Sepp Blatter, then-secretary general Jerome Valcke, and Kattner, had attempted to enrich themselves through annual salary increases, World Cup bonuses and other incentives totalling more than SFr79 million over the previous five years.
In his appeal, Kattner claimed that he was owed SFr10 million by Fifa as compensation for what he called wrongful termination, based on an employment contract he signed in May 2015 with Fifa’s previous administration. However, the Zurich court rejected that claim, adding that, given the various breaches of loyalty committed by the official, allowing him to continue working at Fifa would have been inconceivable.
While welcoming the decision of the court, Fifa noted that it was subject to further appeal.
Kattner had only taken over as the governing body's acting secretary general in September 2015, ahead of Valcke’s sacking the following January, but only lasted a few months before then being implicated in the same scandal, and was himself dismissed in May 2016.
The official had joined Fifa in 2003 as director of finance, and stepped up to deputy secretary general in 2007.
In its statement following the announcement of his 10-year ban in July last year, Fifa said: “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."
As a result of other ethics probes, the bans on Blatter and his long-time associate Valcke were last month extended until 2028.