FIFA has banned Juan Angel Napout and Alfredo Hawit from football-related activity for 90 days following their arrests by the Swiss Federal Office of Justice on suspicion of accepting bribes worth millions of dollars.
The pair, presidents of CONCACAF and CONMEBOL respectively, are both FIFA vice-presidents and were taken into custody by Swiss police following drawn raids at the Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich, where the Executive Committee of world football’s governing body met on Thursday.
It followed requests from United States authorities, with the FOJ stating that the pair are “alleged to have taken the money in return for selling marketing rights in connection with football tournaments in Latin America, as well as World Cup qualifying matches”.
The indictment issued yesterday by the United States Department of Justice cited charges of racketeering conspiracy and corruption although both Hawit and Napout are opposing their extradition to the US.
A FIFA statement released on Friday read: “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert has today banned two FIFA Vice-Presidents – the President of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL), Juan Angel Napout, and the President of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and of the Honduran Football Association (FENAFUTH), Alfredo Hawit, from all football-related activities for 90 days.
“The reason for the ban, which was based on the request of the investigatory chamber under its chairman Dr Cornel Borbely, is the indictment issued yesterday by the United States Department of Justice for charges of racketeering, conspiracy and corruption.”
Napout and Hawit’s arrests came on another damaging day for world football’s governing body, with 16 more officials later charged by US authorities in relation to the FIFA probe.
A US Department of Justice document revealed the 16 are accused of being involved “in criminal schemes involving well over $200million in bribes and kickbacks”.
It follows FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s decision to step down just days after winning a fifth term in charge of the governing body in May, with a new president due to be elected on February 26, 2016.
Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini are the subject of formal proceedings from FIFA in relation to an alleged “disloyal payment” made by the Swiss to Platini in 2011.
The pair were initially handed 90-day suspensions by FIFA’s Ethics Committee, with Platini’s proposed FIFA candidacy not being accepted while he remains under investigation.
Both men deny wrongdoing but saw appeals against their suspensions rejected by FIFA.