[By Moses Adeyemi]
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have upheld Vernon Manilal Fernando’s lifetime ban after the former Fifa Executive Committee member lost his appeal.
Fifa imposed a life ban on Fernando in 2013 after the Sri Lankan – a close ally of Qatari football administrator Mohamed bin Hammam – appealed against his initial eight-year suspension for multiple ethics violations, including bribery, conflicts of interest and accepting gifts.
Fernando appealed again, this time taking his case to CAS, but the quasi-judicial body confirmed the ban imposed by Fifa.
“The Court of Arbitration for Sport [CAS] has dismissed the appeal filed by Vernon Manilal Fernando from Sri Lanka, former Fifa Executive Committee member,” reads a statement released by CAS.
“As a consequence, the decision rendered on October 9, 2013 by the Fifa Appeals Committee, which bans Manilal Fernando from taking part in any football-related activity for life, from March 11, 2013, is confirmed.”
“In September 2012, during an inquiry conducted by the Investigatory Chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee concerning allegations of corruption against Mohamed Bin Hammam, not related to the 2009 AFC [Asian Football Confederation] election, Mr Manilal Fernando was suspected of having violated the Fifa Code of Ethics [FCE]. Subsequently, disciplinary proceedings were opened against him.
“On 30 April 2013, the Adjudicatory Chamber of the Fifa Ethics Committee found Mr Manilal Fernando guilty of having infringed art. 13 [General rules of conduct], art. 19 [Conflict of interests], art. 20 [Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits], and art. 21 [Bribery and corruption] of the FCE.
“In his appeal at the CAS, Vernon Manilal Fernando did not object to the bribery charges but considered that the FCE should only apply to bribes to third parties and not to other Fifa officials, which cannot be accepted. The CAS Panel has determined that Mr Manilal Fernando has failed to discharge the evidential burden which lies upon him to undermine the violations of the FCE and accordingly has found him guilty of such violations.”