FIFA corruption: another one bites the dust

Sri Lanka’s former FIFA executive committee member Vernon Manilal Fernando has been banned for life by the governing body.

Fernando’s appeal to overturn an original eight-year ban on him failed as FIFA’s appeal panel decided to uphold a request from ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia that he be banned for life.

In April, Fernando was banned for eight years. His original suspension was thought at the time to be related to investigations into former Asian Football Confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam – a close associate of Fernando – who was also banned for life after resigning from all his footballing roles.

Bin Hammam was originally banned for his role in the cash-for-votes scandal of 2011. That was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, only for FIFA to impose the same sanction once again, this time for financial wrongdoing linked to the leadership of the AFC.

In Fernando’s case, FIFA have never explained how he violated its code of ethics. It is alleged, though not confirmed, that Fernando’s ban is connected to alleged misuse of AFC funds.

In a brief statement FIFA said: “The lifetime ban has been imposed on Mr Fernando for violations of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 19 (Conflicts of interest), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits), art. 21 (Bribery and corruption), and art. 42 (General obligation to collaborate) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, 2012 edition.”

Fernando’s place on the FIFA exco is currently being taken by China’s Zhang Jilong who is serving the remainder of the term, which expires in 2015.