ZURICH: Another scandal is erupting within world and Asian football after world federation FIFA banned executive committee member Manilal Fernando from all football activity for three months.
This means Fernando cannot involve himself in the high-tension political negotiations going on within the Asian Football Confederation ahead of its presidential election on May 2.
Fernando sits on the AFC executive by virtue of his status as one of its FIFA delegates (along with Thailand’s controversial Worawi Makudi).
A statement announcing the suspension was issued by ethics commission leaders Michael Garcia and Hans-Joachim Eckert.
The 63-year-old Sri Lankan lawyer is listed on the FIFA website as having been an exco member since 2013, as being chairman of the Football Management Committee of Sri Lanka with hobbies which include “speculating in the stock market.”
Asia’s football confederation has been wracked by one scandal after another ever since its Qatari former president, Mohamed Bin Hammam, was suspended over election campaign allegations in May 2011.
Bin Hammam was cleared by the Court of Arbitration for Sport but subsequently kicked out of football after revelations and accusations of a misuse of AFC funds (which he denied).
Fernando and Makudi both travelled with Bin Hammam to the controversial election campaign conference in Port of Spain in May 2011 which led to a corruption explosion within the regional and world game.
Makudi, a controversial figure in his own right, is a nominated candidate for the AFC presidency. The acting president, Zhang Jilong of China, sprang a surprise two weeks ago when he decided not to stand. Zhang was chairman of the AFC finance committee during Bin Hammam’s presidency.
The full statement
Statement of the chairmen of the two chambers of the FIFA Ethics Committee:
At the request of Michael J. Garcia (chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee), Hans-Joachim Eckert (chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee) today provisionally banned FIFA Executive Committee member Vernon Manilal Fernando from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for a period of a maximum of 90 days. The decision was taken based on art. 83 par. 1 in fine of the FIFA Code of Ethics, in order to prevent interference with the establishment of the truth with respect to proceedings now in the adjudicatory chamber.
The proceedings relate to formal ethics charges brought in a final report filed by the chairman of the investigatory chamber with the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber. This report is the result of investigatory proceedings opened in October 2012.
The case is now with the jurisdiction of the adjudicatory chamber for any further procedural steps that chamber deems appropriate.
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