FIFA bans three disgraced officials for life

FIFA bans three disgraced officials for life

FIFA’s ethics committee on Tuesday slapped lifetime bans on three former world football executives who have all pleaded guilty to corruption charges in US courts.

Rafael Esquivel, a former head of the Venezuelan Football Association, Nicaragua’s Julio Rocha, a former FIFA development officer, and Richard Lai of Guam, who served on FIFA’s auditing body, have all been barred from any further involvement in the sport.

“The adjudicatory chamber found Mr. Lai, Mr. Rocha and Mr. Esquivel guilty of having violated article 21 (bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” said a statement from the ethics watchdog of world football’s governing body.

“The officials are banned for life from all football-related activities… at national and international level,” it added.

The three are among the 42 officials and marketing executives who have been indicted by the United States justice department as part of its sprawling probe into football corruption.

The Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn is seen in New York where Juan Ángel Napout of Paraguay, José Maria Marin of Brazil, and Manuel Burga of Peru are on trial in the Fifa corruption scandal on November 15, 2017. A former Argentine football official has reportedly committed suicide after he was accused of bribe-taking in testimony to a trial of top former FIFA figures in New York. Jorge Delhon threw himself under a train in a Buenos Aires suburb on November 14, 2017, Argentine newspapers Clarin and La Nacion reported on their websites. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT
The Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn is seen in New York where Juan Ángel Napout of Paraguay, José Maria Marin of Brazil, and Manuel Burga of Peru are on trial in the Fifa corruption scandal on November 15, 2017.A former Argentine football official has reportedly committed suicide after he was accused of bribe-taking in testimony to a trial of top former FIFA figures in New York.Jorge Delhon threw himself under a train in a Buenos Aires suburb on November 14, 2017, Argentine newspapers Clarin and La Nacion reported on their websites.
/ AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT

Esquivel, who also served as the vice president of South American governing body CONMEBOL, pleaded guilty to racketeering and wire fraud in November of last year.

He admitted to taking bribes in exchange for the awarding of football media and marketing rights.

Rocha, who once headed Nicaragua’s football association, pleaded guilty to similar offences in December 2016.

Lai, in addition to his FIFA role, also led the football association in his native Guam.

He pleaded guilty in April to a variety of corruption-related offences including selling his vote ahead FIFA elections.

Former president of the Peruvian Football Association Manuel Burga, one of three defendants in the FIFA scandal arrives at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn on November 15, 2017 in New York. A former Argentine football official has reportedly committed suicide after he was accused of bribe-taking in testimony to a trial of top former FIFA figures in New York. Jorge Delhon threw himself under a train in a Buenos Aires suburb on November 14, 2017, Argentine newspapers Clarin and La Nacion reported on their websites. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT
Former president of the Peruvian Football Association Manuel Burga, one of three defendants in the FIFA scandal arrives at the Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn on November 15, 2017 in New York.A former Argentine football official has reportedly committed suicide after he was accused of bribe-taking in testimony to a trial of top former FIFA figures in New York.
Jorge Delhon threw himself under a train in a Buenos Aires suburb on November 14, 2017, Argentine newspapers Clarin and La Nacion reported on their websites./ AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT

The US investigation, which came to light in May 2015, uncorked the largest scandal in the history of world football.

The first trial in the case began last week in New York, where three South American former officials are accused of graft worth million of dollars.