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Fifa hands life ban to former Guatemala FA chief

Former Guatemalan Football Association (FENAFUTG) president Brayan Jiménez has become the latest ex-Fifa official to be handed a life ban by world football’s governing body.

Jiménez, who led FENAFUTG from 2009 to 2015 and was also a former member of the Fifa Committee for Fair Play and Social Responsibility, was handed the punishment by the adjudicatory chamber of Fifa’s Ethics Committee.

The investigation against Jiménez was opened on December 4, 2015 based on a statement from the United States Department of Justice (DoJ). On July 29, 2016, Jiménez pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy.

His guilty plea related to two schemes by means of which he asked for and received bribes from sports marketing companies in relation to the awarding of marketing rights for World Cup qualifiers in the Central American Football Union (UNCAF) region and for agreeing to the Guatemalan national team taking part in UNCAF region friendlies. He is due to be sentenced by a US judge on April 28.

Fifa has found Jiménez guilty of having violated code of ethics articles relating to general rules of conduct; loyalty; duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting, conflicts of interest and bribery and corruption. As a consequence, the official is banned for life from all football-related activities at national and international level.

According to the Reuters news agency, the US district attorney said at the time of Jimenez's plea bargain that the bribes he accepted amounted to “hundreds of thousands of dollars”. Amid the wide-ranging corruption scandal that erupted in world football in 2015, several other officials have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing, others have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial and some are in their homeland where they are fighting, or have avoided, extradition.