By Andrew Warshaw
February 12 – After years of fighting FIFA’s ethics apparatus, former executive committee member and Thai strongman Worawi Makudi has succeeded in clearing his name and winning his fight against a five-year ban.
Makudi was barred in 2016 after FIFA said he had committed “forgery and falsification”.
FIFA’s appeal committee reduced the ban to three and a half years but Makudi also appealed against that sentence and has now won his case at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Makudi was originally thrown out by FIFA’s ethics committee after the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court handed him a suspended 16-month prison sentence in 2015 for allegedly altering documents ahead of the 2013 Thai FA’s presidential election.
But CAS said that “on the basis of the evidence available” that Makudi, 67, did not infringe article 17 of the FIFA code of ethics – “forgery and falsification”.
The panel noted that Makudi presented “additional witnesses and new information” during the CAS proceedings that was not available to football’s world governing body during its investigation and that the information “could have resulted in different decisions”.
Makudi was also fined CHF10,000 (£7,743) in 2016 and found to have infringed article 41 – “obligation of the parties to collaborate”.
CAS confirmed that breach but said it was to a lesser degree than FIFA’s ethics committee had ruled.
The panel instead issued Makudi a reprimand and reduced his fine to CHF5,000.
All in all, that represents a major victory and something of a snub to the FIFA ethics process. But where Makudi, who was a FIFA executive committee member for 18 years, goes from here is open to question.
Although his ban was set to expire in April 2020, he has already been replaced as head of the Thai FA and is no longer a member of the Asian Football Confederation’s executive committee.
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