FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke looks set to leave world football’s governing body at the same time as President Sepp Blatter ©Getty Images

FIFA general secretary Jérôme Valcke has acknowledged that he will almost certainly leave world football’s governing body at the same time as Sepp Blatter, the President under whom he has served since 2007.

Speaking in St Petersburg today, ahead of tomorrow's preliminary draw for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, Valcke, a 54-year-old Frenchman, said: “If I were the next FIFA President, I would take a new general secretary.

“So yes, whoever becomes the FIFA President should have a new secretary general because it is the most important relationship for any organisation.

“Whoever becomes chairman of a company should appoint his CEO and that is key - and maybe some other key functions within the institution.”

FIFA this week set a date of February 26 for an Extraordinary Elective Congress at which a replacement for Blatter, who has now been President for 17 years, is expected to be chosen.

Valcke also disclosed that FIFA will hold a meeting with its leading sponsors next month to discuss a new process of reforms at the beleaguered organisation.

“There were a number of sponsors…Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa who expressed and sent letters to FIFA,” he said.

“Two or three days ago, we received a letter coming from all of them offering to meet all together.

“So there will be a meeting next month in August between all the main FIFA partners and FIFA. 

“The main point is to make sure from their side that the ongoing reform process should be and has to be through an independent body.”

A replacement for Sepp Blatter as FIFA President is due to be chosen on February 26 at an Extraordinary Elective Congress
A replacement for Sepp Blatter as FIFA President is due to be chosen on February 26 at an Extraordinary Elective Congress ©Getty Images

He said there would be more information about the composition of the body, which FIFA has labelled a task force, in coming weeks.

FIFA said on Monday (July 20) that this task force would be chaired by a “neutral” chairman, who “should be appointed in consultation with the Confederations’ Presidents”.

The body would then be composed of two members each of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the African Football Confederation (CAF), the Central and North American and Caribbean Football Confederation (CONCACAF) and the European Football Confederation (UEFA), and one representative each of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC).

Reforms are expected to include: centralised integrity checks for FIFA Executive Committee members; the introduction of term limits, possibly three four-year terms, both for the FIFA President and others; and individual disclosure of compensation.

Valcke acknowledged that FIFA’s tarnished image was unhelpful when it came to closing new sponsorship deals.

“Definitely the current situation does not help to finalise any new agreement,” he said.

“It’s a fact.”

The 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw will most probably be Blatter's last official event connected to football's premier competition before he leaves office, and will see a total of 141 teams discover their pathway to the tournament. 

Teams from Africa, North, Central America and the Caribbean, Oceania, South America and Europe will learn their fate with two of the most famous faces in world football, Brazil's Ronaldo and fellow World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro of Italy, assisting Valcke in carrying out the draw. 

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