FIFA ethics prosecutors call for life ban for Chirakal over bribery allegations

FIFA shadows

November 3 – FIFA prosecutors have recommended a life ban be imposed on a former aide to disgraced ex-Asian football chief Mohamed bin Hammam for seven alleged breaches of the ethics code.

The FIFA ethics committee said its investigation into Najeeb Chirakal “focused mainly on his involvement in payments to several football officials.”

Charges include bribery and corruption, offering gifts, conflicts of interest and failing to co-operate with investigators. Chirakal was based in Qatar and worked for Bin Hammam, banned for life by FIFA in 2012 as a result of the infamous cash-for-votes scandal when he sought to challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Although that was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the FIFA ethics committee banned  Bin Hammam for a second time in December 2012, this time over financial mismanagement of the Asian Football Confederation, blocking him from returning to duty.

Chirakal has previously been identified as allegedly the middle man for African and Asian officials seeking cash payments from Bin Hammam. In October 2012, he was provisionally suspended for failing to co-operate with an investigation into Bin Hammam. At that time he had been asked “to provide information and documents, and failed to respond.”

The full FIFA ethics committee statement on Chirakai is as follows:

Vanessa Allard, a member of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee and the chief of investigation, has concluded her enquiry into the activities of Najeeb Chirakal, and submitted the final report together with recommendations to the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, which is chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert.

The investigation concerning Mr Chirakal focused mainly on his involvement in payments to several football officials.

In her final report, Ms Allard has recommended imposing on Mr Chirakal a lifelong ban on taking part in any kind of football-related activity (administrative, sports or any other) for the alleged violation of articles 13 (general rules of conduct), 18 (duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting), 19 (conflicts of interest), 20 (offering and accepting gifts and other benefits), 21 (bribery and corruption), 41 (obligation of the parties to collaborate) and 42 (general obligation to collaborate) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

Until a formal decision is taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, Mr Chirakal is presumed innocent.

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