FIFA Bans Jamaica Chief for Six Months

Zurich, Oct 15 (IANS/CMC): Football's world governing body FIFA has slapped a six-month ban on Jamaica Football Federation president Captain Horace Burrell for his role in the cash-for-vote scandal and also imposed sanctions on several other Caribbean officials.

Burrell, a leading Caribbean Football Union (CFU) member and a long-time ally of former FIFA strongman Jack Warner, was the senior most CFU official punished for violation of FIFA's Code of Ethics, following an investigation by its ethics committee.

In addition to Burrell, three more officials were banned, three reprimanded and five warned by FIFA's ethics committee Friday.

The probe was ordered following allegations that Qatar's Mohammed bin Hammam, who was a FIFA presidential candidate in June, and Warner offered CFU members $40,000 to buy votes.

Though Warner resigned - and was exempted from investigation - and bin Hammam was banned for life following a high profile ethics inquiry, FIFA opened proceedings against Caribbean officials, stating that the "conduct of others, who attended the meeting in Trinidad and Tobago in May, justified further investigation."

Only recently, Burrell announced his intention to run for the top post in CFU and in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), the continental governing body for football in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

He will now have to withdraw his candidacy.

Others against whom FIFA ordered action were:
Franka Pickering of the British Virgin Islands (BVI) -- handed the most severe punishment with an 18-month ban and $560 fine. She is one of the most senior women in international football.

Ian Hypolite of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Osiris Guzman of the Dominican Republic -- received 30-day bans and $360 fines.

The BVI's Aubrey Liburd and the US Virgin Islands' Hillaren Frederick -- reprimanded and fined $360 each, while Anthony Johnson of St. Kitts and Nevis received a reprimand but no fine.

David Hinds and Mark Forde of Barbados, Richard Groden of Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti's Yves Jean-Bart and Jamaican Horace Reid, all escaped with warnings.

FIFA said the hearing of Guyana's Noel Adonis had been postponed while they required more information before they could take a decision on St Lucia's Patrick Mathurin.

Cases against Cayman Islands' David Frederick and Joseph Delves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines were closed since they are no longer officials. FIFA said the cases would be re-opened if the duo were ever elected again.

FIFA's announcement is the latest twist in the scandal that has already claimed several leading CFU and Concacaf figures and left Caribbean football in turmoil.

Warner was forced to resign as FIFA vice-president, and Concacaf and CFU president at the height of the bribery allegations while Barbadian Lisle Austin, a senior Concacaf vice-president who acted as president following Warner's resignation, received a year-long ban from FIFA in August.

Last month, Colin Klass, a senior CFU executive member and perennial head of the Guyana Football Federation, was banned for 26 months and fined for his role at the meeting.


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