News 4th November 2015

FIFA Update: Brazil chief extradition and Ghana fury over funds allegations

Former Brazil football President pleads not guilty following extradition

Former Brazilian football confederation (CBF) President José Maria Marin was earlier this week extradited from Switzerland to the USA on charges of corruption surrounding the FIFA scandal. Appearing in front of a US District Court in Brooklyn, New York, just hours after arriving on a flight from Zurich, Marin reportedly pleadaed not guilty to bribery charges.

Marin was one of eight FIFA officials arrested in Zurich in May after being indicted on US Federal corruption charges in connection with bribery allegations. In July the US asked Switzerland to extradite the arrested FIFA officials through a formal extradition request submitted to the Swiss Federal Office of Justice (FOJ).

Marin, who was a member of the FIFA organizing committee for the Olympic football tournaments at the time of his arrest, is accused of taking bribes worth millions of dollars from sports marketing companies in connection with the Copa America and Copa do Brasil. According to Reuters, Marin is accused of ‘being among several high-ranking soccer officials who were due to receive $110 million in bribes in exchange for the media rights for regional tournaments’ as well as commercial rights for the domestic Copa do Brasil.

The BBC reported that, if convicted, Marin could face up to 20 years in prison. He reportedly had bail set at $15 million and was ordered to be placed under house arrest.

Ghana football disappointed in ‘cack-handed comments’

The Ghana Football Association (GFA) has issued a press release expressing its ‘grave displeasure and disappointment’ over ‘cack-handed comments’ of the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Jon Benjamin. Benjamin recently gave an interview to a local radio station on the ‘perceived misappropriation of funds from FIFA’ by the GFA.

According to the press release, Benjamin alleged that FIFA funds had been assigned to GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi for his ‘personal use’ and that ‘financial allocations’ had not been used to develop pitches at grassroots level, but instead to ‘purchase expensive cars’. The GFA refuted these claims, stating that FIFA funds were actually ‘paid directly to every federation annually for specific projects and pre-determined uses.’

Last week the news site Modern Ghana wrote that questions had arisen over the ‘use of the Ghana Football Association’s share of FIFA’s financial assistance project’, adding that the GFA had been the ‘beneficiary of almost USD$2.3 million in FIFA assistance since 2011.’ In response to the article, Jon Benjamin tweeted ‘And that’s my point: what has the GFA spent this money on in terms of grassroots football? An open, honest question’ before castigating the site who he claimed ‘publicly accused me of hypocrisy for posing the same question you pose here.’

 

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