FIFA bans Caribbean official in bribery scandal
FIFA banned Caribbean football official Colin Klass for two years and two months on Friday for his part in a bribery scandal involving former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.
Klass was found guilty of three breaches of FIFA's code of ethics, including confidentiality rules and not disclosing "evidence of violations of conduct."
"The FIFA Ethics Committee, under the chairmanship of Claudio Sulser, has today decided to ban Guyana FA president Colin Klass from taking part in any football-related activity [administrative, sports or any other] for a period of 26 months," FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA expelled Klass through October 2013 and also fined him 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,500 US). He can appeal.
Klass will lose his seat on FIFA's futsal and beach soccer committee and the presidency of Guyana's football federation, which he has led since 1989.
FIFA is investigating another 15 Caribbean officials it suspects were offered or accepted $40,000 cash payments to back bin Hammam's challenge to FIFA President Sepp Blatter.
Bin Hammam was banned for life by a FIFA ethics panel in July and lost his appeal last week. He has said he will challenge FIFA's verdicts at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
FIFA is expected to hear the remaining Caribbean cases next month, including that of Guyana FA general secretary Noel Adonis.
Klass was the only one of the 16 Caribbean football leaders to be suspended pending a hearing after FIFA cited "consideration of the specific information received on this matter."
He is a longtime ally of former FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner, who ran Caribbean football for three decades until resigning in June. FIFA then dropped its investigation into the Trinidad and Tobago government minister's role in bin Hammam's campaign visit to Port of Spain in May.
Klass, who sat on the Caribbean Football Union executive committee, attended the meeting where members heard the Qatari candidate's pitch. Whistleblowers' statements said Klass was present as officials later queued to receive a gift distributed by CFU staffers.
Witnesses said they were given brown envelopes filled with four piles of $100 bills, which Warner told them came from bin Hammam.
The case against Klass was prepared by investigators hired by FIFA from FGI Europe, an agency led by former FBI director Louis Freeh.
Tarnished by the scandal, bin Hammam withdrew his candidacy three days before the FIFA election in June.
Blatter was left unopposed to receive a fourth four-year presidential term, and was endorsed by 186 of FIFA's 208 national members, including most Caribbean islands.
On Oct. 21, Blatter is scheduled to provide details of his promised anti-corruption project to clean up world football and its damaged image.