ZURICH: Harold Mayne-Nicholls has had his ban from all football cut from seven years to three by the FIFA appeal committee writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The former president of the Chilean football federation, had headed the technical inspection team in the scandal-hit 2018-2022 World Cup bid process. His report noted specifically the searing summer temperatures in Qatar, advice which a majority of the executive committee either ignored or did not hold as significant.
However, the task proved doubly poisonous for Mayne-Nicholl.
Firstly he was absent from home so long that rivals and critics ousted him from the Chilean federation leadership. Secondly, he fell foul of the FIFA ethics committee after inquiring of Qatar’s Aspire Academy whether a son and a nephew could become unpaid interns.
Mayne-Nicholls insisted that correspondence records held by the Chilean federation would clear his name by clarifying dates and intention; however, since he was no longer president he was denied access to the documentation.
It is also understood his statements of impatience over the ethics process was considered to have been a further breach of regulations. The ethics committee failed to provide him with a written judgment until six months after its verdict had been announced – risking contravening the norms of natural justice.
The FIFA appeal committee, in trimming his suspension, accepted the “principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber [but] deemed that the sanction imposed was not proportionate to the breaches committed.”
Mayne-Nicholls, whose fine of SFr 20,000 stands, has indicated he will appeal further to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The FIFA appeal committee had no sympathy, however, for an appeal by Ganesh Thapa against his sentence of a 10-year ban and fine of SFr 20,000 imposed last November by the ethics committee.
Thapa, a former president of the Nepal Football Association and still reportedly influential behind the scenes, had been banned from the game for bribery.
Appeal committee statement:
The FIFA Appeal Committee has taken the following decisions on the respective appeals lodged by Harold Mayne-Nicholls and Ganesh Thapa.
The FIFA Appeal Committee has partially confirmed the decision taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee concerning Mr Mayne-Nicholls on 3 July 2015, reducing his ban from all football-related activities to three years and confirming the fine of CHF 20,000.
Mr Mayne-Nicholls was found guilty by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of infringing articles 13 (General rules of conduct), 15 (Loyalty), 19 (Conflicts of interest) and 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE).
While agreeing with the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber, the Appeal Committee deemed that the sanction imposed was not proportionate to the breaches committed. The ban imposed on Mr Mayne-Nicholls entered into force on 3 July 2015.
The FIFA Appeal Committee has rejected the appeal lodged by Mr Thapa in full and partially confirmed the decision taken by the adjudicatory chamber on 9 November 2015 to suspend him from all football-related activities for a period of ten years and impose a fine of CHF 20,000.
Mr Thapa was found guilty by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of infringing articles 13, 15, 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting), 19, 20 and 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FCE.
In a spirit of good faith and in line with the principle established by article 85 paragraph 2 of the FCE, the period of 210 days during which Mr Thapa refrained from taking part in any football-related activity during the ethics proceedings was taken into account in the enforcement of the sanction. Consequently, the FIFA Appeal Committee has decided that the aforementioned ban imposed on Mr Thapa retroactively entered into force on 16 April 2015.