ZURICH: FIFA’s ethics committee is considering imposing a life ban on Jeffrey Webb, almost a year after the then president of CONCACAF was detained in Zurich on a United States indictment over the FIFAGate corruption scandal.
Webb is currently under house arrest at his luxury home in Georgia. At the time of his detention the Cayman Islands banker was a vice-president of the world football governing body and head of its anti-discrimination commission.
He has since admitted to a New York court that “I abused my position to obtain bribes and kickbacks for my personal benefit . . . I deeply regret my participation in this illegal conduct.”
Webb confessed to receiving bribes for the sale of commercial rights for 2018 and 2022 World Cup qualifying matches, and in 2012, 2013 and 2014, including for the Copa America Centenario tournament, which will be held in June.
A statement from the FIFA ethics committee, confirming that it was finally pursuing Webb in formal terms, said:
“The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, chaired by Mr Hans-Joachim Eckert . . . has carefully studied the report of the investigatory chamber, under the chairmanship of Dr Cornel Borbély, and decided to institute formal adjudicatory proceedings against Mr Webb.
“The final report was transmitted to the adjudicatory chamber on 26 April 2016, with a recommended sanction of a lifelong ban from all football-related activities for violations of articles 13, 15, 18, 19 and 21 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
“On 23 November 2015, Mr Webb pleaded guilty at the United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, to one count of racketeering conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud conspiracy and three counts of money laundering conspiracy.
“During the course of these adjudicatory proceedings, Mr Webb will be invited to submit his position with regard to the final report of the investigatory chamber, including any evidence (art. 70 par. 2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics), and may request a hearing (art. 74 par. 2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics).”
** Nicolas Leoz, veteran Paraguayan former president of South American confederation CONMEBOL, has lost the latest stage of his fight to evade extradition to the US on FIFGate charges.
A Paraguayan court has rejected a claim by lawyers acting for Leoz that the pursuit of extradition itself was unconstitutional.