FIFA Ethics Watchdog Bans Three Former Football Officials For Life
FIFA's ethics watchdog banned three former football officials for life "as part of efforts to address widespread corruption in the sport," according to John Miller of REUTERS. The latest officials to be hit by FIFA bans are Richard Lai, the former Guam FA president and a former member of the FIFA audit and compliance committee; Julio Rocha, the former Nicaraguan FA president and a former FIFA development officer; and Rafael Esquivel, former Venezuelan FA president. All three men pleaded guilty in the U.S. to separate federal charges "ranging from wire fraud to racketeering and money laundering" (REUTERS, 11/21).
OFF THE BOOKS: REUTERS' Rosenberg & Pierson reported a government witness testified on Monday about millions of dollars paid to former football officials "in exchange for broadcasting and sponsorship rights" for int'l tournaments, "all logged in a secret spreadsheet." The witness, Santiago Peña, said that he was a financial manager at Argentina-based sports marketing firm Full Play from '09-15 and "kept an Excel file which he presented in court." It detailed payments made to what he said were eight officials from CONMEBOL. Each of the officials was "given a code name in the spreadsheet of different car brands," Peña testified. Former Paraguay Football Federation President Juan Ángel Napout was "Honda" and former Peru Football Federation President Manuel Burga was "Fiat" (REUTERS, 11/20).