News 4th December 2015

FIFA provisionally bans Napout & Hawit

The Adjudicatory Chamber of the independent FIFA Ethics Committee has provisionally banned FIFA Vice Presidents Alfredo Hawit Banegas and Juan Ángel Napout for 90 days, after both were arrested in Switzerland on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption yesterday. In two charge sheets that were identical apart from the names involved, FIFA said that it had chosen to issue a provisional ban ‘since a breach of the Code of Ethics seems to have been committed and a decision on the main issue may not be taken early enough’.

Hawit, who is President of the Confederation of the North, Central America and Caribbean Association of Football (CONCACAF) and Napout, who is President of the Latin American football confederation (CONMEBOL) were arrested by Swiss authorities yesterday following the unsealing of a 236-page, 92-count ‘superseding indictment’ against 16 new defendants by the Department of Justice (DoJ) in its ongoing investigation into corruption in football. The Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ) said that both were opposing their extradition to the US.

The independent FIFA Ethics Committee is funded by FIFA, which also appoints its staff. It is understood that it will hold hearings into the provisional suspension of FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini before Christmas. Blatter has recently said that the Ethics Committee has no power to remove him as President, arguing that only FIFA’s 209 member associations have the power to do this, at FIFA’s Congress (FIFA pays for the flights and hotels of national associations to attend). The Ethics Committee has denied Blatter’s claims. An extraordinary FIFA Congress will elect a new FIFA President on 26 February 2016.

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