KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- For the second time in a matter of weeks FIFA’s football justice has reached out where the United States judicial authorities could not in banning notorious Brazilian Ricardo Teixeira for life – though the breadth of the punishment is academic.
The ethics committee of the world federation, which is slowly working its way through a long list of all the crooked football bosses cheats indicted by the US Justice Department in 2015, banned Teixeira and fined him one million Swiss francs for taking bribes for marketing and media rights for continental and Brazilian football competitions between 2006 and 2012.
Last month Manuel Burga, the former Peru football supremo also embroiled in the FIFAGate scandal, was hit with a FIFA ban despite escaping judicial punishment in a New York court.
The ethics commission of the world governing body has acted, nearly two years after Burga was cleared on a corruption charge in a New York court in December 2017,
Teixeira, the 72-year-old former son-in-law of the late former ex-FIFA president Joao Havelange, is himself also a former FIFA executive committee and long-serving head of the Brazilian national association.
A FIFA statement said the ethics investigation had focused on “bribery schemes” carried out between 2006 and 2012 “in relation to his role in awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights” for competitions run by the federations (CBF) of Brazil, South America (CONMEBOL) and North and Central America (CONCACAF).
Pressure on Teixeira led to him resigning from the CBF in 2012 ahead of Brazil’s hosting of the 2014 World Cup for which he had also been lical organising president.
He sought self-exile in an exclusive gated property in Miami which he had owned for some years. As the FBI closed in so he fled Florida and returned to Rio de Janeiro.
He cannot be extradited, as the US wish, because of a protective clause for Brazilian citizens in the national constitution.
A successor, Marco Polo del Nero, also remains safe from the US DoJ in Brazil. He fled Zurich late in the day in May 2015 when seven other international football executives were arrested by the Swiss authorities on a US extradition warrant.
Del Nero has not left Brazil since then although he remained CBF president for the next two years.
Jose Maria Marin, Teixeira’s immediate successor at the CBF and on the FIFA executive committee, has one of the seven arrested in Zurich and is currently serving a jail term in the US on FIFAGate corruption charges.
Teixeira, who quit football in the first place of his own volition after it was revealed he had skimmed millions from FIFA’s former marketing partner ISL, has always denied wrongdoing.
In 2017 he told the Folha newspaper of Sao Paulo: “Is there a safer place than Brazil? Which? Why would I run if here I’m not accused of anything? Everything they accuse me of abroad is not a crime in Brazil. Not that I’m saying if I did it or not.”
Adjudicatory chamber statement:
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has found Ricardo Teixeira, a former member of the Executive Committee of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), a former President of the Brazilian Football Association (CBF) and a former FIFA Executive Committee and standing committee member, guilty of bribery in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The investigation into Mr Teixeira referred to bribery schemes, conducted during the 2006-2012 period, in relation to his role in awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to CBF, CONMEBOL and Concacaf competitions.
In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Teixeira had breached art. 27 (Bribery) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (2018 edition) and, as a result, sanctioned him with a ban for life on taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level. Additionally, a fine in the amount of CHF 1,000,000 has been imposed on Mr Teixeira.
The decision was notified to Mr Teixeira today, the date on which the ban comes into force, and has been published on legal.fifa.com. A direct link to the decision is accessible here.