Banned FIFA official Fernando awaits CAS hearing
GENEVA (AP) — Former FIFA executive committee member Vernon Manilal Fernando is waiting for a date from sport’s highest court to appeal his life ban for alleged corruption.
Fernando, once an associate of Mohamed bin Hammam, told The Associated Press on Thursday that a Court of Arbitration for Sport panel has been appointed to judge the case. No hearing date has been scheduled.
The Sri Lankan official said he expected the case to progress in “another month or two.”
FIFA expelled Fernando last October for breaking ethics rules including conflict of interest, bribery, and accepting gifts.
FIFA has never specified details of the case, and Fernando declined comment on the circumstances on Thursday.
Initially, FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert suspended Fernando for eight years in April 2013.
However, prosecutor Michael Garcia challenged the sanction and FIFA’s appeals committee imposed a life ban. Fernando also appealed to the FIFA panel.
Fernando said he “most certainly” plans to attend his hearing at the court’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Fernando was a FIFA employee when elected by Asian Football Confederation member countries in 2011 as one of its four delegates to the Zurich-based ruling board.
He served as FIFA’s regional development officer in South Asia when project funds were directed by a Bin Hammam-chaired committee.
FIFA expelled Bin Hammam in December 2012 after Garcia investigated alleged mismanagement of AFC accounts and commercial contracts. Fernando’s ethics case soon followed.
In a PricewaterhouseCoopers forensic audit of AFC finances leaked to international media in July 2012, Fernando was named once.
He allegedly received $4,268 from then-AFC president Bin Hammam between March 2009 and November 2010. It was noted as “various payments for travel and accommodation for Mr. and Mrs. Manilal Fernando.”
Last weekend, Bin Hammam was implicated in further allegations of paying millions of dollars to football officials to buy influence and support for himself and Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
“I am not involved in any of those (claims),” Fernando said on Thursday about the British newspaper’s reports.