FIFA news

Ex-FIFA executive to appeal ban

October 10, 2013
By Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka -- Former FIFA executive committee member Vernon Manilal Fernando said Thursday he is "very disturbed" over a life ban from football and will appeal the decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

A statement issued by his lawyers said Fernando was "not surprised, (but) he is very disturbed with it" and that he "feels that a life ban on him is unfair and harsh."

It also said the ban had been handed down "as deterrent for Mr. Fernando exercising his right of appeal within the FIFA process."

FIFA on Wednesday said its appeals panel upheld a request from ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia to increase the Sri Lankan official's eight-year ban to a lifetime sanction.

Fernando's own appeal to overturn the original ban imposed in April was dismissed.

"On legal advise, Mr. Fernando has no alternative but appeal against this decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), an independent tribunal outside the FIFA process," the statement said. "Mr. Fernando is confident that he will be able to receive justice before CAS."

FIFA said Fernando broke rules on bribery and corruption, accepting gifts and other benefits, along with other ethics violations.

However, the circumstances of the misconduct were not specified.

Fernando was a close associate of Mohamed bin Hammam, a Qatari who was expelled by FIFA for life after a bribery scandal connected to his failed bid to oust President Sepp Blatter.

Bin Hammam was cleared at the Court of Arbitration for Sport of attempting to bribe Caribbean voters in May 2011, during a campaign visit in which he was accompanied by Fernando.

Bin Hammam was expelled last year even after he resigned his football duties when FIFA pursued further charges of financial wrongdoing connected to his leadership of the Asian Football Confederation.

Fernando was a FIFA employee when he was elected by AFC member countries in 2011 to join its executive committee. He had served as FIFA's regional development officer in South Asia at a time when development funds were directed by a bin Hammam-chaired committee.

Chinese official Zhang Jilong is serving the remainder of Fernando's FIFA board mandate which expires in 2015.

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