CAS cuts World Cup inspection team leader’s Fifa ban

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, a key figure in the process to award hosting rights for the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cups, has today (Friday) seen his ban from world football reduced from three to two years, clearing him for a return to the industry this month.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) today issued its decision in the arbitration procedure between the Chilean official and Fifa, world football’s governing body. In April 2016, Mayne-Nicholls’ (right of picture) ban was cut from seven to three years by Fifa’s Appeal Committee, a ruling he then took to CAS following written publication of the verdict in February this year.

In January 2016, Fifa said Mayne-Nicholls “repeatedly asked for personal favours” from one bid committee leading to his seven-year ban from the sport. Fifa’s case was built around requests Mayne-Nicholls allegedly made to an organisation linked to the Qatari bid team for the 2022 World Cup on behalf of members of his family and athletes from Chile.

Mayne-Nicholls received his ban from the adjudicatory chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee in July 2015. At the time, the committee gave no reason for its decision to suspend the former president of the Chilean Football Association (ANFP) who led the inspection team for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding processes and had previously been linked as a potential Fifa presidential candidate.

Mayne-Nicholls had been found guilty of infringing article 13 (general rules of conduct), article 15 (loyalty), article 19 (conflicts of interest) and article 20 (offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) of the Fifa Code of Ethics (FCE). As established by the adjudicatory chamber, the most serious breach committed by the official was ruled to be the violation of article 20 of the FCE.

CAS today upheld Fifa’s ruling on breaches of articles 13, 15 and 19, but rejected any breach of article 20, therefore reducing his ban to a period of two years dated back from July 3, 2015. Consequently, Mayne-Nicholls’s ban from taking part in any football-related activity at national and international level has been served in its entirety.

CAS said in a statement: “Having given careful and anxious consideration to the nature of the wrongdoing that Mr Harold Mayne Nicholls has been found guilty of, the Panel concluded that a two-year prohibition on participating in any football-related activity represented an appropriate and proportionate penalty.”