KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Rafael Salguero, the recently reappeared former FIFA exco member, has been banned from all football actvities for seven years and fined 100,000 Swiss francs for bribery.
The punishment was imposed by the ethics committee of the world football federation three months after Salguero was handed a ‘time served’ sentence by a court in New York for co-operating as guilty witness in the FIFAGate corruption case.
A FIFA ethics committee statement said that the one-time president of the Guatemala football federation and ex-member of the sport’s governing body was being punished for “various bribery schemes during the 2006-2014 period related to Concacaf and FIFA competitions, as well as the illegal reselling of tickets for the FIFA World Cup.”
It added: “Mr Salguero had breached art. 27 (Bribery) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, while highlighting his cooperation with the authorities in the United States and throughout the proceedings before the Ethics Committee.”
Salguero emerged from hiding – after two years ‘assisting’ United States prosecutors – last December.
He then pleaded guilty to multiple corruption charges in the FIFAGate corruption investigation.
Salguero told investigators that he was approached in 2010 on a flight from Mexico to Guatemala by an Italy-based individual who offered him “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in exchange for his vote in the scandal-scarred 2018/2022 World Cup bid battle. He said he tried to collect the bribe after the vote but failed to obtain it.
The two met with multiple times after their first encounter to discuss the bribe but was never paid any money. The identity of the bid allegedly involved had been redacted in the court papers.
Russia won the 2018 World Cup host rights against competition from Spain/Portugal, Belgium/Holland England. The 2022 finals were awarded t Qatar against competition from the United States, South Korea, Japan and Australia.
It has been widely reported that Qatar and Spain/Portugal had reached a vote swap agreement before the vote in December 2010. Several Latin American exco members voted for Qatar.
Another supporter was reported to be Jack Warner the then president of CONCACAF of which Salguero was a senior executive committee member and delegate to the FIFA exco.
The length, depth and breadth of the FIFAGate scandal burst into the open in May 2015 when seven members of the FIFA exco were arrested in Zurich on the eve of congress and detained for extradition to the US.
A year earlier FIFA reform consulant Mark Pieth had accused the “Latin language” clique within the exco – which included Salguero – with trying to halt the federation’s own inquiry into the 2018/2022 vote scandal being undertaken by investigator Michael Garcia.
In 2016 Salguero was ousted from the FIFA exective committee by Costa Rica’s Eduardo Li.
A year earlier he had been named by the Swiss authorities about 10 foreign FIFA-linked individuals who were wanted for questioning as “persons providing information” about the vote. By then his name had been formally added to the list of individuals being sought by the US.
Salguero’s name was mentioned in the trial late in 2017 of Brazil’s Jose Maria Marin and ex-CONCACAF president Juan Angel Napout. The court was told that Salguero and two other senior central American football officials had travelled to Uruguay in 2011 to negotiate million-dollar bribes.
More than 40 individuals and several marketing companies entities were indicted in the investigation by the US Justice Department and most pleaded guilty. A significant number are still awaiting sentence almost four years after the original arrests and extradition orders.
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Mr Rafael Salguero, the former president of the Guatemalan Football Association (FEDEFUT) and a former member of the FIFA and Concacaf Executive Committees, guilty of bribery in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The investigation into Mr Salguero referred to various bribery schemes during the 2006-2014 period related to Concacaf and FIFA competitions, as well as the illegal reselling of tickets for the FIFA World Cup™.
In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Salguero had breached art. 27 (Bribery) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, while highlighting his cooperation with the authorities in the United States and throughout the proceedings before the Ethics Committee.
As a result, Mr Salguero has been banned from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) for a period of seven years at both national and international level. Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 100,000 has been imposed on Mr Salguero.
The decision was notified to Mr Salguero today, the date on which the ban comes into force.