FIFA ethics board suspends CONCACAF general secretary

FIFA announces suspension of CONCACAF general secretary Enrique Sanz who is banned ‘from carrying out any football-related activities’ in the wake of DOJ corruption probe

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The ethics committee of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) said on Monday that the general secretary of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Enrique Sanz has been provisionally suspended.

FIFA said “on the basis of investigations carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee and the latest facts presented by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York” the decision was made by the ethics committee to ban Sanz “from carrying out any football-related activities at a national and international level.”

Sanz had already been placed on leave by CONCACAF last week following the arrests made in Zurich in the wake of a corruption investigation into FIFA by Swiss and US authorities.

The joint operation ahead of FIFA’s annual congress resulted in seven arrests in Zurich and a raid of CONCACAF’s Miami headquarters.

CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb and his associate Costas Takkas were among those arrested on Wednesday. They are expected to be extradited to the United States.

Webb was head of CONCACAF from 2012 until his dismissal upon his arrest. He and his predecessor Jack Warner are accused of orchestrating bribes through a high ranking official in Traffic Sports USA, Bloomberg Business reports.

Sanz has not been charged but he is described as a co-conspirator in the 160-page indictment prepared by the US Department of Justice on alleged corruption in CONCACAF, primarily in the form of bribe-taking, vote-buying and illegal payouts.

Prosecutors say nine officials and five sports media and promotions executives were linked to more than $150 million in bribes over a period of 24 years, Reuters reports.

Sanz was a vice president of Traffic Sports USA, a media rights and marketing firm, for 15 years before becoming CONCACAF’s general secretary.

In the US indictment, federal prosecutors refer to an unnamed “co-conspirator #4” whose identifying details and activities seemingly match those of Sanz’s.

“Co-conspirator #4” allegedly acquired the rights for the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) on behalf of Traffic USA to qualifying matches leading up to the 2018 and 2012 World Cup. He is then said to have left Traffic USA and joined CONCACAF.

“Mr. Sanz and his family are focusing on his health issues at this time,” Sanz’s Lawyer Joseph DiMaria told Reuters last Thursday. Sanz reportedly suffers from leukemia.

In Brazil, authorities are investigating Ricardo Teixeira, the former president of Brazil’s national football federation for alleged money laundering and fraud. Teixeira’s successor Jose Maria Marin was one of the seven FIFA officials arrested in Zurich last week.

In Paraguay, a judge has ordered the arrest of Nicolas Leoz, the former president of the South American Football Confederation, the BBC reported. Leoz, wanted by US authorities, is to be put under house arrest.

TRTWorld and agencies