By Caribbean News Now contributor
ZURICH, Switzerland — The adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s independent Ethics Committee has banned three more individuals for life from all football-related activities: Aaron Davidson, former board chairman of the North American Soccer League (NASL) and former president of Traffic Sports USA, a sports marketing company; Costas Takkas, a former CONCACAF official and attaché to the former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb; and Miguel Trujillo, a former FIFA match agent and owner of sports consulting companies.
On October 20, 2016, Davidson pleaded guilty in US federal court to one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of wire fraud. His guilty plea related, amongst others, to schemes in which he offered bribes in exchange for securing contracts for the media and marketing rights of football tournaments.
On May 24, 2017, Takkas also pleaded guilty in US federal court to one count of money laundering conspiracy. His guilty plea related, amongst others, to schemes in which he received bribe payments on behalf of the former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands, in exchange for awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights for football tournaments.
On March 8, 2016, Trujillo pleaded guilty in US federal court to one count of money laundering conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud conspiracy in connection with his participation in several schemes to bribe football officials.
The adjudicatory chamber found Davidson, Takkas and Trujillo guilty of having violated article 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics. As a consequence, the officials are banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level. Additionally, a fine of one million Swiss francs (US$1.033 million) has been imposed on each of the three individuals.
In July, the FIFA Appeal Committee partially confirmed a similar ban from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level imposed on September 19, 2017, on Gordon Derrick, the former general secretary of the Antigua and Barbuda Football Association and president of the Caribbean Football Union, reducing the length of the ban from six to four years, and the fine from CHF 30,000 to CHF 15,000.
Derrick was found guilty by the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of infringing articles 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits), 19 (Conflicts of interest), 15 (Loyalty) and 13 para. 4 (General rules of conduct) of the FIFA Code of Ethics (FCE). These breaches were confirmed by the FIFA Appeal Committee.
However, the Appeal Committee did not concur with the adjudicatory chamber’s findings of Derrick being guilty of additional violations of articles 41 (Obligation of the parties to collaborate) and 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting) of the FCE during the course of the proceedings.
While agreeing with most of the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber, the Appeal Committee therefore decided to reduce the sanction imposed on Derrick, following its finding that fewer articles had been infringed, and taking into account all mitigating circumstances of the case.