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FIFA bans former executive for life for corruption

October 9, 2013

ZURICH (AP) — In the latest bribery case at the heart of FIFA, former executive committee member Vernon Manilal Fernando was given a life ban from football on Wednesday.

FIFA said its appeals panel upheld a request from ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia to increase the Sri Lankan official’s 8-year ban to a lifetime sanction.

Fernando’s own appeal to overturn the original ban imposed in April was dismissed.

FIFA finally detailed charges against Fernando after previously banning him without explaining how he had violated the governing body’s code of ethics.

FIFA said Fernando broke rules on bribery and corruption, accepting gifts and other benefits, plus conflict of interest among other violations.

Still, the circumstances of the misconduct were not specified.

Fernando was a close associate of Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari who was expelled by FIFA for life after a bribery scandal connected to his failed bid to oust FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Bin Hammam was cleared at the Court of Arbitration for Sport of attempting to bribe Caribbean voters in May 2011, during a campaign visit in which he was accompanied by Fernando.

Bin Hammam was expelled last year even after he resigned his football duties when FIFA pursued further charges of financial wrongdoing connected to his leadership of the Asian Football Confederation.

Fernando was a FIFA employee when he was elected by AFC member countries in 2011 to join its executive committee. He had served as FIFA’s regional development officer in South Asia at a time when development funds were directed by a bin Hammam-chaired committee.

Chinese official Zhang Jilong is serving the remainder of Fernando’s FIFA board mandate which expires in 2015.

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