Fifa bans former bid evaluation chief for seven years

Harold Mayne-Nicholls speaks to the media during a football World Cup 2018 bid event at Manchester Central.
Harold Mayne-Nicholls speaks to the media during a football World Cup 2018 bid event at Manchester Central. PHOTO: REUTERS

ZURICH • Football's world governing body Fifa on Monday banned the former head of its bid evaluation committee for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups for seven years for "confidentiality" breaches.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls, a former Chilean Football Association president, wrote the report that gave Qatar the worst ranking of the candidates for the 2022 World Cup Finals, which the wealthy Gulf state went on to win.

Fifa's Ethics Committee adjudicatory chamber banned Mayne-Nicholls, 54, "from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for a period of seven years".

It did not give details, but said it was for a breach of a confidentiality rule in Fifa's code of ethics.

Mayne-Nicholls took to Twitter to confirm he would appeal the suspension, and questioned the decision to announce the ban before he has gone through that process.

"Concerning Fifa Ethics Committee ruling before the first instance, I will appeal to higher courts established in Fifa statutes and CAS (Court of Arbitration for Sport)," he said. "I wonder why (Fifa) publishes a sanction that has outstanding resources, as this may be modified by higher courts. "

Mayne-Nicholls revealed in November that he was under investigation over e-mails he sent to the Aspire Academy in Qatar seeking internships for his son and a nephew. He also sought tennis coaching opportunities for a brother-in-law.

He was at the time considering running against Sepp Blatter for the Fifa presidency.

The Chilean said the internships were "unpaid", British media reported. The academy turned down Mayne-Nicholls' requests.

The reports quoted an e-mail sent to Mayne-Nicholls by a Fifa Ethics Committee deputy chairman, Cornel Borbely, which said the approaches were made "shortly after the inspection tour and prior to the issuance of the evaluation report on Qatar".

Borbely added: "Said behaviour seems to be a cause enough to doubt the integrity of the inspection process and your evaluations."

Mayne-Nicholls denied at the time he had done anything wrong.

Fifa said more details would be given about the case after the final decision becomes effective.

The Fifa evaluation committee gave Qatar's World Cup bid its worst ranking, mainly because of the summer heat in the Gulf state, which can go as high as 45 deg C.

Fifa has since held an inquiry into the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 tournament, and has changed the date of the Qatar tournament to November-December because of concerns about the heat.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2015, with the headline 'Fifa bans former bid evaluation chief for seven years'. Print Edition | Subscribe