FIFA ethics judges impose 1-year ban on Qatari election candidate

A Qatari candidate for election to FIFA’s ruling council has been banned from all soccer duty for one year for refusing to co-operate with ethics investigators.

Saoud Al-Mohannadi “did not co-operate with the investigatory chamber in the proceedings against a third party,” FIFA ethics committee judges said in a statement. It also fined him 20,000 Swiss francs ($ 19,900 US).

The ban blocks Al-Mohannadi, a vice-president of the Qatar Football Association and Asian Football Confederation, from a Feb. 28 election to represent Asia on the strategy-setting FIFA Council.

The vote was scheduled in September but delayed in an apparent protest by Asian members of FIFA against the ethics case.

Al-Mohannadi was among four candidates for two vacant seats representing Asia on the expanded FIFA council, which replaced the scandal-tainted FIFA executive committee this year.

The other candidates were from China, Iran, Singapore.

The case against Al-Mohannadi was opened in July 2015, the FIFA ethics committee statement said. In April 2015, the Qatari official lost in his first attempt to win election to FIFA’s ruling panel.

The ethics committee said Al-Mohannadi breached his “duty to collaborate as a witness in separate proceedings,” though did not specify the case. It previously said the issue did not involve the 2022 World Cup bidding contest won by Qatar.

In recent years, the ethics committee has imposed life bans on Qatari former AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam for financial mismanagement, and one of Bin Hammam’s closest aides, Vernon Manilal Fernando of Sri Lanka, for bribery in Asian and FIFA elections.

Al-Mohannadi can appeal the sanction to FIFA and later the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

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