MONTEVIDEO: Juan Pedro Damiani has denied any illegal or unethical conduct in being a member of the FIFA ethics committee while also representing offshore companies on behalf of disgraced fellow Uruguayan football powerbroker Eugenio Figueredo writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

“It’s pretty funny to be both complainant and defendant,” said the president of former world and South American champions after being criticised over references to his legal business in the so-called ‘Panama Papers.’

Damiani said: “Peñarol were the first big club who denounced wrongdoing with [South Amrican confederation] CONMEBOL and even in February 2014 we sent a letter to FIFA demanding in investigate what was going on.

“When the issue went to court, we also submitted the appropriate report.”

Clubs’ protest

Penarol and a number of other Uruguayan clubs had complained that they were due more revenues from CONMEBOL’s commercial contracts.

Damiani, whose conduct as a member of the FIFA ethics committee is under investigation by prosecutor Cornel Borbely, added: “The only good thing is that I have been included alongside people like Messi, Putin, [Argentina President] Macri.”

Damiani, born in Montevideo on June 14, 1958, has been president of Peñarol since 2008, a year after the retirement of his father, José Pedro Damiani. He was then re-elected in 2011 and 2014.

Under Damiani Penarol have won two Uruguayan title and were runners-up in the Copa Libertadores to Santos of Brazil in 2011. He built the club’s high performance centre and professionalised all the administration.