By Andrew Warshaw
September 7 – FIFA’s ethics watchdog has opened formal proceedings against one of the Qatari FA’s highest ranking officials, vice-president Saoud Al-Mohannadi, but much intrigue surrounds what he has specifically done wrong.
Earlier this month ethics investigators recommended Mohannadi be banned from the game for at least 2 1/2 years over allegations of non-cooperation in an investigation, details of which were not made public.
“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee, under its chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert, has opened formal adjudicatory proceedings against the Vice-President of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) and former General Secretary of the QFA, Saoud Al-Mohannadi, based on the final report submitted by the investigatory chamber,” FIFA said in a statement.
It is understood the case has nothing to do with the 2022 World Cup bid process. Al-Mohannadi is a candidate for one of the two vacant Asian Football Confederation (AFC) seats on the new-look FIFA Council at the AFC elections on September 27. Whether his candidacy will now withdrawn remains an open question.
The ethics move is awkward for Qatar’s World Cup officials. Al-Mohannadi was general secretary of the QFA when the Gulf state bid to host the 2022 tournament and it is common knowledge that Qatar has become increasingly keen to have a strong voice on the top table of FIFA’s ruling body as it endeavours to push ahead with organising the tournament with as little distraction as possible.
Al-Mohannadi said last week that he was “confident that a full and fair review of the matter will confirm that I have co-operated extensively and candidly.”
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