Football's world governing body is yet again embroiled in another corruption scandal, this time involving its second most senior official, secretary general Jerome Valcke.
Fifa has suspended the Frenchman indefinitely, relieved him of his duties and ordered an internal ethics investigation after emails revealing that he sought to profit personally through the sale of World Cup tickets he controlled emerged.
"Fifa has been made aware of a series of allegations involving the Secretary-General and has requested a formal investigation by the Fifa Ethics Committee," the body said in a statement.
The Wall Street Journal said Benny Alon, an Israeli-American who had been organising World Cup hospitality packages since 1990 had accused Valcke of using him to sell tickets at marked up prices for his own gain.
Alon, who was accompanied by a banker and lawyers, showed reporters email exchanges in which Valcke appears to express hopes that proceeds from the ticket sales would be his pension fund and giving Alon the go ahead on a large sale.
The email uses the code word 'documents' which Alon said means proceeds from ticket sales, the Wall Street Journal said. Alon decided to make the emails public as he felt that time was running out to seek financial compensation for tickets he claimed Fifa had not properly delivered to his company.
Valcke, through his lawyer Barry Berke "unequivocally denies the fabricated and outrageous accusations by Benny Alon." According to Berke, Valcke had received nothing from Alon and that his deal with Fifa was approved by its legal counsel.
The newspaper said the emails produced by Alon could not be independently verified, noting that some appeared to come from a gmail account in Valcke's name and others from his Fifa email address.
Alon had contract with Fifa to sell 2010, 2014 and 2018 tickets
Alon's company, JB Sports Marketing, signed a contract with Fifa in April 2010 that allows him to buy no more than 6,750 tickets for each of the 2010, 2014, and 2018 World Cups but in March 2012, Alon claims Valcke offered to upgrade 2,400 tickets in his 2014 allocation with ones for more desirable games if he agreed to split the sales.
Alon claims that Valcke gave him permission to sell the tickets above their face value, although this was prohibited in his deal with Fifa. Alon said he had sold his entire tickets allotment but did not hand over the funds to Valcke as the latter had asked him to hold it for him. Both parties never decided on how the money would be transferred to Valcke, Alon said, according to the journal.
The BBC said Valcke had set off in a private jet to Moscow on 17 September to take part in a pre-arranged meeting pertaining to Russia hosting the 2018 World Cup. He however did not reach his destination. According to BBC's Richard Conway, the plane turned back to Zurich midway following Fifa's decision to suspend Valcke from his role immediately.
Conway said Fifa's out-going President Sepp Blatter had consulted with a number of football regional bodies before making the decision to suspend Valcke.
The use of a private jet by Valcke to fly to Moscow received some interest in the social media world.