KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS: Wilmar Valdez, one-time strongman of Uruguayan football, has been banned from football for a year and fined 10,000 Swiss francs over a security cameras scandal.

In late 2016 millionaire Valdez suddenly and surprisingly dropped his pursuit for re-election as president of the Uruguayan federation after being confronted with wiretaps of conversations he had held with Walter Alcantara, a former president of Rentistas, concerning bribes towards the system’s installation in the Estadio Centenario and purchase by top division clubs Bella Vista and Defensor.

The scandal subsequently enveloped other business leaders and senior national politicians.

Later Valdez alleged that he had been the subject of blackmail and personal threats by journalist Julio Ríos and Danubio president Arturo Del Campo. A criminal investigation was opened and closed in December 2018 with the prosecutors’ office declaring no case to answer.

Valdez was voted on to the FIFA Council in 2014 by South American governing body CONMEBOL in a reported agreement in which he did not challenge the CONMEBOL presidency bid by Paraguayan Juan Angel Napout.

Subsequently Napout was jailed in the United States on corruption offences arising out of the FIFAGate investigation.

Valdez, after quitting the AUF presidency, launched a civil suit for damages against Julio Rios, the journalist who had exposed the scam. Rios counter-sued. Ten clubs from the top three divisions also sued Valdez over corruption allegations concerning the installation of security cameras and floodlighting.

In 2019 CONMEBOL replaced Valdez as a delegate on FIFA Council with fellow Uruguayan Ignacio Alonso after he became the subject of an investigation by the world federation’s ethics commission. .

This has now ruled that Valdez was “guilty of having infringed his duty of loyalty, in violation of the FIFA Code of Ethics.”

A statement added:

The investigation into Mr Valdez concerned various projects and tenders conducted by the AUF and, in particular, conversations related to those tenders involving Mr Valdez which took place in 2016. Audio recordings of these conversations were published in the media in 2018.

In its decision, the adjudicatory chamber ruled that, based on the content of the recordings, Mr Valdez had breached his fiduciary duty towards the AUF, as per the FIFA Code of Ethics.

Consequently, the adjudicatory chamber found that Mr Valdez had breached art. 15 (Duty of loyalty) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (2019 version) and sanctioned him with a ban from all football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level for one year. In addition, a fine in the amount of CHF 10,000 has been imposed on Mr Valdez.