ZURICH, (Reuters) – Guyana FA president Colin Klass became the second high-ranking official, and the fourth in all, to be banned for their part in a bribery scandal when world soccer’s ruling body FIFA suspended him today for 26 months.
Klass, who was also fined 5,000 Swiss francs ($5,537), was provisionally suspended on Aug. 11 after the Ethics Committee ruled he had breached their Code of Ethics for his part in the scandal that also led to the lifetime ban for Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam following a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in May.
The Guyanese, a member of the CFU’s executive committee for 22 years, protested his innocence but in a statement issued on Friday FIFA ruled he had “breached various articles of the Code of Ethics following an investigation related to the special meeting of the CFU held in Trinidad & Tobago on May 10-11.”
Klass joins Bin Hammam on the banned list along with minor CFU officials Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester.
The quartet were involved in an attempt by Bin Hammam to secure the votes of CFU members in his FIFA presidential battle against incumbent Sepp Blatter which was due to take place in Zurich on June 1.
Blatter was eventually re-elected unopposed.
Bin Hammam was later found guilty of offering bribes of $40,000 to the CFU members and withdrew from the election campaign when the plot was disclosed a few days before the vote was due to take place.
FIFA executive committee member and vice-president Jack Warner of Trinidad & Tobago, who was also charged with attempted bribery, resigned after a 28-year spell with the ruling body and never faced any charges.
Although Klass now knows his fate, FIFA still has ongoing proceedings listed against another 15 Caribbean officials with the dates of their hearings still to be arranged.
Bin Hammam, re-elected earlier this year as the president of the Asian Football Confederation but now banned from all soccer-related activity for life, is taking his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.