World Cup news

FIFA secretary general hospitalised

October 19, 2012
By ESPN staff

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke is currently hospitalised in Brazil after suffering a kidney infection, which has forced the Frenchman to miss the local World Cup organising committee board meeting on Thursday.

FIFA Jerome Valcke
GettyImagesFIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke would act if there was proof of corruption

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Valcke's condition isn't serious, according to FIFA, however he will be kept under hospital surveillance and will be required to stay in Rio de Janeiro for a number of days. The infection has also forced Valcke to miss the launch of construction work for a hotel which will be used for the 2014 World Cup.

FIFA deputy secretary general Markus Kattner stepped in for Valcke at the board meeting and gave an update of his superiors' condition.

"FIFA's secretary general has an infection and, on doctor's advice, is recuperating locally at the hospital here in Rio. He is in the best hands and just needs two to three days of observation. I can confirm he is OK and there is no reason for concerns," Kattner said.

FIFA communications director Walter de Gregorio said Valcke was remaining positive and was even making light of the situation. "As part of the inspection tour, I wanted to see the level of health care in Brazil," Valcke said in a statement read by Gregorio.

The Samaritano hospital where Valcke is receiving treatment said the secretary general was admitted on Wednesday night with abdominal pain and received treatment for the infection immediately after undergoing a series of tests.

Valcke was in Brazil as part of a tour of the countries host cities, and managed to visit Belo Horizonte and Porto Alegre before falling ill. He is the man responsible for organising World Cups, which are footballs global showpiece and FIFA's main source of earnings.

Valcke and 2014 host nation Brazil were involved in a public spat earlier this year after he made remarks about their slow World Cup preparations, with the Brazilian government responding that they would no longer work with the FIFA secretary general. However the governing body managed to ease tensions after a public apology by both Valcke and FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Before falling ill, Valcke expressed his concern over the slow pace of construction at some stadiums which will host next year's Confederations Cup. Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Fortaleza, Salvador and Recife were initially selected as host cities, but Salvador and Recife will only participate in the warm-up competition for the World Cup if they show marked improvement.