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Fifa bans former Brazilian football chief for life

World football’s governing body Fifa has today (Friday) handed a life ban to former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Marco Polo Del Nero, one of the main figures in the corruption scandal surrounding the sport in South America.

The adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s Ethics Committee has issued its ruling after an investigation against the 77-year-old was opened in November 2015. The probe related to schemes in which Del Nero received bribes in exchange for his role in awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to various football tournaments, including the South American Football Confederation’s (Conmebol’s) Copa América and Copa Libertadores, along with the CBF’s Copa do Brasil.

The adjudicatory chamber agreed with the recommendations of the investigatory chamber and found Del Nero guilty of breaches of the Fifa Code of Ethics relating to bribery and corruption, offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, conflicts of interest, loyalty and general rules of conduct. Along with his life ban from all football-related activities at both national and international level, Del Nero has also been hit with a fine of CHF1m (€837,500/$1.02m).

Today’s announcement comes after the CBF elected Rogério Caboclo as its new president earlier this month. Caboclo, seen to be an ally of Del Nero, was the only candidate in the election and will serve a four-year term in office, from April 2019 to April 2023. 

In December, Del Nero was provisionally banned from all football activities for 90 days by the Fifa Ethics Committee, with the suspension having been extended for a further 45 days last month. Del Nero is a former member of Fifa’s Executive Committee. In August 2016, the organisation’s Ethics Committee confirmed that it was formally investigating Del Nero, who was among a host of officials and executives indicted in 2015 as part of the US investigation into football corruption.

Del Nero had returned to his position as head of the CBF in April 2016 after having stepped aside for three months following his indictment as part of the ongoing probe into widespread corruption across the sport. However, the remainder of his current term is now being filled by Antonio Carlos Nunes.

Del Nero has not been extradited from Brazil to face charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies. His predecessors as CBF president, Ricardo Teixeira and Jose Maria Marin, were also indicted for similar offences. Teixeira has not been extradited, while Marin is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty in December.

In court in Brooklyn, prosecution witness Jose Hawilla, founder of the Traffic agency, in December testified that Del Nero was among senior South American officials who had to be bribed to secure commercial contracts to tournaments.