LAUSANNE: Harold Mayne-Nicholls, who led the 2018/2022 World Cup bid inspections, is back in (football) business after the Court of Arbitration for Sport cut his three-year ban for seeking unpaid intern work in Qatar for relatives writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

In December 2010 Mayne-Nicholls, a former president of the Chilean federation, provided a report ahead of the votes by the FIFA executive committee which cautioned about the searing summer temperatures in Qatar.

His advice was either unread or ignored or dismissed as irrelevant by a majority of the world federation’s exco which awarded the 2018 finals to Russia and 2022 to the Gulf state.

The task proved doubly poisonous for Mayne-Nicholls.

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 and was banned from the game for seven years 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 to the media of impatience over the ethics process was considered to have been a further breach of regulations. However the FIFA appeal committee judged the seven-year ban excessive and trimmed it to three years.

CAS has now reduced it further to two years which, since it was originally imposed on July 3, 2015, means Mayne-Nicholls is now judged to have served his time.

CAS statement:

** The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between Harold Mayne-Nicholls and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).

The decision of the FIFA Appeal Committee dated 22 April 2016 is set aside and replaced by the following decision:

a) Harold Mayne-Nicholls is guilty of violating Articles 13, 15 and 19 of the FIFA Code of Ethics 2012.

b) Harold Mayne-Nicholls is not guilty of violating Article 20 of the FIFA Code of Ethics 2012.

c) Harold Mayne-Nicholls is banned for a period of two years from 3 July 2015.

Consequently, Harold Mayne-Nicholls’s ban from taking part in any football-related activity at national and international level has been served in its entirety.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the former President of the Chilean Football Association and former Chairman of the FIFA Evaluation Group for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bids, was investigated by the FIFA Ethics Committee for breaches of the FIFA Ethics Code arising from requests he made to an organisation linked to the Qatari bid team for the 2022 World Cup on behalf of members of his family and athletes from Chile.

On 6 July 2015, the FIFA Ethics Committee issued a decision in which Harold Mayne-Nicholls was banned from participating in any football-related activity at national and international level for seven years. Harold Mayne-Nicholls appealed this decision to the FIFA Appeal Committee (FIFA AC) which issued a decision on 22 April 2016 reducing the ban from participating in any football-related activity at national and international level from seven years to three years.

The written grounds for the decision were notified on 8 February 2017. On 27 February 2017, Harold Mayne-Nicholls filed an appeal at CAS against the FIFA AC decision.

The CAS arbitration was conducted by Prof. Dr. Martin Schimke, Germany (President), Mr Bernard Hanotiau, Belgium, and Prof. Luigi Fumagalli, Italy.

The Panel held a hearing with the parties at the CAS Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland on 14 June 2017. In its decision, the CAS Panel confirmed the finding in the FIFA AC decision that Harold MayneNicholls was guilty of violating Articles 13 (General rule of conduct), 15 (Loyalty) and 19 (Conflict of interests) of the FIFA Code of Ethics 2012.

However, it did not confirm the violation of Article 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits). Having given careful and anxious consideration to the nature of the wrongdoing that Mr Harold Mayne Nicholls has been found guilty of, the Panel concluded that a two-year prohibition on participating in any football-related activity represented an appropriate and proportionate penalty.