FIFA inspector was banned for seeking personal favors: committee

Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:33am EST
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By Brian Homewood

ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA's ethics committee said on Thursday that former World Cup bid inspector Harold Mayne-Nicholls repeatedly asked for personal favors from one of the countries that bid to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Mayne-Nicholls, who was banned for seven years on July 6, "ignored his responsibility as a high-ranking official", the ethics committee said in a statement as it informed him of the grounds of the decision.

Mayne-Nicholls could not immediately be reached for comment. He also declined to comment when he was barred last July, citing committee rules.

The decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, both taken in December 2010 at the same event in Zurich, has been embroiled in controversy and been a big element in a rash of scandals plaguing international soccer.

Switzerland's attorney general is investigating the award while the FIFA committee also looked into the decision and found no grounds to hold a re-vote, although it raised questions about the conduct of individuals connected with a number of bids.

The ethics committee said Thursday that Mayne-Nicholls, a former head of the Chilean football federation, was guilty of breaching four articles of its code of ethics, the most series being the one concerning the offering and acceptance of gifts.

"This provision aims at guaranteeing that the requirement for FIFA – and its bodies and officials – to behave with integrity and neutrality is upheld at all times," the committee statement said.

It said that after visiting one bidding nation in September 2010, Mayne-Nicholls "repeatedly asked for personal favors related to the hosting and training of his relatives (a son, nephew and brother-in-law) at an institution linked with that Bid Committee."   Continued...

Head of the FIFA Inspection Group Harold Mayne-Nicholls attends a meeting with journalists about the World Cup 2018-22 bid event in Lisbon September 2, 2010. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro