FIFA bans St. Vincent soccer president

Venold Coombs, second from left, president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, has been banned by FIFA for two years for his involvement in a ticket sales scam committed at the 2014 World Cup soccer games in Brazil.
The Vincentian

The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee of FIFA, the world governing football (soccer) authority, has banned Venold Coombs, the president of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation (SVGFF).

FIFA said on Tuesday that the ban is for two years, adding that it involves “all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”

The investigation into Coombs was opened on June 9, 2016, focusing on “the resale of tickets for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil,” FIFA said.

“The investigatory chamber analyzed allegations that Mr. Coombs had sold tickets purchased by the SVGFF and by him personally, in his capacity as a FIFA standing committee member, for a profiteering mark-up,” the statement said.

“The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Coombs guilty of having violated articles 21 (bribery and corruption), 19 (conflicts of interest) and 15 (loyalty) of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” it added.

“Mr. Coombs is, therefore, banned for two years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level,” the statement continued.

FIFA also imposed a US$40,000 fine on Coombs.

“The decision was notified to Mr. Coombs today [Tuesday], and the ban comes into force immediately,” the statement said.

On Thursday, Coombs denied being banned by FIFA.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” he told the Barbados-based Caribbean Media Corporation.

CMC said Coombs is the latest Caribbean soccer official to be sanctioned by FIFA, following a number of high profile cases in recent years.

Last year, Antiguan Gordon Derrick, president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), was banned for six years on similar bribery and conflict of interest charges, and fined US$31,000, CMC said.

Also in 2017, FIFA dished out life bans to the former presidents of the Guam, Nicaraguan and Venezuelan football associations for corruption.

Former Guam Football Association boss Richard Lai , former Venezuelan FA chief Rafael Esquivel and ex-Nicaraguan FA president Julio Rocha were all banned after they pleaded guilty to fraud charges.

And late last year, three former football chiefs in South America — Manuel Burga in Peru, Jose Maria Marin in Brazil and Juan Angel Napout in Paraguay were tried in New York on charges of fraud, money-laundering and racketeering, to which they pleaded not guilty.

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