FIFA’s ethics watchdogs have banned three former football officials from Guam, Nicaragua and Venezuela for life as part of efforts to address widespread corruption in the sport, the world football governing body said yesterday.
The latest officials to be hit by FIFA bans are Richard Lai, the former Guam Football Association president and a former member of the FIFA audit and compliance committee.
Others are Julio Rocha, the former Nicaraguan Football Association president and a former FIFA development officer; and Rafael Esquivel, former Venezuelan Football Association president.
All three men had pleaded guilty in the United States to separate federal charges ranging from wire fraud to racketeering and money laundering.
Mr. Lai pleaded guilty to taking one million dollars from officials looking to buy influence, with powerful International Olympic Committee member Ahmad Al-Sabah of Kuwait implicated.
Rocha and Esquivel pleaded guilty to taking bribes in exchange for the awarding of media and marketing rights of matches including World Cup qualifiers and regional tournaments such as the Copa America.