BOGOTA: South America has only one effective delegate left on the executive committee of FIFA and Luis Bedoya quit as head of the Colombian football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
CONMEBOL, the South American confederation, is allocated three places on the governing body of the scandal-racked world federation – one vice-president and two ordinary members.
The vice-president is Paraguayan Juan Angel Napout while the two appointed delegates are Bedoya and Brazilian confederation leader Marco Polo Del Nero. However Del Nero does not attend meetings because he fears arrest in the FIFAGate investigation should he leave Brazil. Bedoya’s exit means he is no longer on board either.
The CONMEBOL executive was due to consider Del Nero’s position at a meeting in Rio de Janeiro later this month; replacing Bedoya will now also be on the agenda.
Bedoya was the second FIFA exco delegate stepping out of the game yesterday after Wolfgang Niersbach resigned as president of the German federation under pressure over the 2006 World Cup cash scandal.
A Colombian FA statement said: “Luis Bedoya Giraldo has submitted his irrevocable resignation for personal reasons as president and member of the executive committee of the Colombian Football Federation as of today.”
Bedoya also resigned as a vice-president of CONMEBOL, a role he had held since 2013; Ramon Jeshurun, vice-president of COLFUTBOL, has stepped up as interim head of the domestic association.
His departure came 11 days after the resignation of Diego Reina as treasurer of the Colombian federation.
New York flight
Bedoya flew to New York amid speculation that he had agreed a deal with prosecutors in the FIFAGate investigation into corruption, bribery and money-laundering involving international football tournaments in the Americas.
Earlier the Colombian attorney-general’s office had confirmed its own inquiry into Bedoya’s activities after the original US Department of Justice indictment had alleged that the South American marketing company Datisa had “agreed to pay $100m in bribes to officials of CONMEBOL – all of whom were also officials of FIFA – in exchange for commercial rights to the 2013 Copa America: $20m for the signing of the contract and $20m for each of the subsequent editions of the tournament.
“Every payment of $20m was to be divided as follows: $3m for each of the three senior officers of CONMEBOL (Confederation president and the presidents of the Federations of Brazil and Argentina), $1.5m for each of the other seven presidents of federations of CONMEBOL and $500,000 for an official.”
Bedoya had insisted on his innocence last year at a press conference summoned on the same day that Sepp Blatter was announcing his intention to step down as FIFA president.
In September, a Uruguayan journalist claimed that Alejandro Burzaco, one of the senior executives of Datisa partner TyC, had also linked Bedoya to bribery allegations.
Bedoya’s departure has come at a bad time for Colombian football in general with the national team facing two crucial World Cup-ties against Chile and Argentina.