Fifa Ethics Committee seeks life bans for former ANFP, FCF chiefs

The chief investigator of Fifa’s Ethics Committee has recommended life bans for the former presidents of the Chilean Football Association (ANFP) and Colombian Football Federation (FCF) after finding cases of misconduct under the rules of world football’s governing body, including those pertaining to bribery and corruption.

The chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, Cornel Borbély, today laid out his findings in the cases of Colombia’s Luis Bedoya and Chile’s Sergio Jadue. The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) in December said that Bedoya, a former member of the Fifa Executive Committee, a former South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) vice-president and, until October 2015 the president of the FCF, on November 12 waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy.

Later that month, Jadue, a former vice-president of Conmebol, also waived indictment and pleaded guilty to a two-count information charging him with racketeering conspiracy and wire fraud conspiracy. Bedoya and Jadue have fallen under the DoJ’s probe that has led to charges against 39 people for crimes including racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud. Most of them are officials or sports marketing executives connected to Conmebol and the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf).

In his final reports, Borbely recommended imposing on both Bedoya and Jadue a lifelong ban on taking part in any kind of football-related activity for violation of Code of Ethics articles concerning general rules of conduct, loyalty, duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting, conflicts of interest, bribery and corruption and general obligation to collaborate. Their cases will now pass to the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee.

In other news, Concacaf has settled a lawsuit against a US travel company it accused of overcharging for services as part of a kickback scheme. The Concacaf lawsuit, filed in December against California-based Cartan Tours in federal court in Los Angeles, was dismissed on Monday, according to the Reuters news agency.

The suit alleged Cartan secretly paid off Concacaf’s former president Jeffrey Webb, who pleaded guilty in last year’s DoJ indictment, and Enrique Sanz, who served as Concacaf's secretary general. In return, according to the lawsuit's claims, Cartan secured a lucrative deal to provide travel and event planning services.

Cartan had denied the allegations and brought a counter claim against Concacaf for breach of contract, according to Howard Steinberg of the Greenberg Traurig law firm, which defended the firm and other defendants named in the case. “The settlement resulted in a mutual dismissal of claims with neither side paying the other side any money,” Steinberg said.

Concacaf said in a statement: “The settlement will save Concacaf millions of dollars and allow the Confederation to continue to move forward from the misconduct of past management to focus on football and governance reforms.”