Monday, March 11, 2013

Another FIFA Ex Comm Member Suspended

At the request of Michael J. Garcia (chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee), Hans-Joachim Eckert (chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee) today provisionally banned FIFA Executive Committee member Vernon Manilal Fernando from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for a period of a maximum of 90 days.

The decision was taken based on art. 83 par. 1 in fine of the FIFA Code of Ethics, in order to prevent interference with the establishment of the truth with respect to proceedings now in the adjudicatory chamber.

The proceedings relate to formal ethics charges brought in a final report filed by the chairman of the investigatory chamber with the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber. This report is the result of investigatory proceedings opened in October 2012.

The case is now with the jurisdiction of the adjudicatory chamber for any further procedural steps that chamber deems appropriate.
The report referenced is not, to my knowledge, publicly available. I have emailed the FIFA media office and requested a copy.

The AP reports:
The suspension relates to the investigation by FIFA prosecutor Michael J. Garcia into the alleged misuse of Asian Football Confederation accounts. Fernando's case has been sent to the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee for a decision.

FIFA hasn't indicated any specific allegations against Fernando - a member of FIFA's ruling executive since January 2011 - who was a close ally of bin Hammam, the former AFC head and disgraced FIFA presidential candidate.
Speculation is that the suspension has to do with the infamous money-in-paper-bags that Bin Hammam got into trouble for:
Bin Hammam won a Court of Arbitration for Sport ruling last year to overturn the first ban. The court said FIFA hadn’t proven bin Hammam paid $40,000 bribes in cash to Caribbean officials despite presenting whistleblower evidence.

Fernando, who is a lawyer, was among a group of senior soccer officials who accompanied bin Hammam on that May 2011 trip to Trinidad to woo voters three weeks ahead of the FIFA election. Bin Hammam, who claims Blatter helped orchestrate the scandal, withdrew his candidacy as FIFA prepared to suspend him days before polling.
Of course, Bin Hammam prevailed at the CAS over FIFA's ability to make a convincing case and to follow principles of due process. With the work of the FIFA Ethics Committee still taking place out of sight, it is not clear that FIFA has gotten the message on due process.


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