Provisional ban for FIFA ExCo member Manilal in ethics probe

Manilal Fernando

(CNN) — A high profile member of FIFA’s executive committee, has been provisionally banned from “football related activity” for 90 days, the world governing body said Monday.

Sri Lankan Vernon Fernando Manilal has been suspended at the request of the Michael Garcia and Hans-Joachim Eckert, who chair the investigatory and adjudicatory bodies of FIFA’s Ethics Committee.

No details of his alleged trangression were released, but FIFA said the decision was based on an article in its Code of Ethics, “in order to prevent the interference with the establishment of the truth with respect to proceedings now in the adjudicatory chamber.”

The 63-year-old Manilal, who is a lawyer and businessman by profession, has represented the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on the influential executive committee since 2011.

Manilal’s eventual fate now rests with the Eckert’s adjudicatory body, but he will be barred from attending the next executive meeting in Zurich later this month when further anti-corruption measures are expected to be announced.

FIFA strengthened its ethics code after the suspension of former AFC chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, who challenged Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency and was also a member of the executive commitee.

Manilal accompanied Qatari Bin Hammam on a trip to the Caribbean ahead of that election in June 2011.

It was alleged bin Hamman offered officials, including former North American football chief Jack Warner, cash for votes, at a meeting in Trinidad.

There is no suggestion Manilal was involved, but Bin Hammam withdrew 24 hours before the presidential election ballot after being provisionally suspended by FIFA.

Manilal’s ban means he cannot take play any part in the behind the scenes activity ahead of the AFC presidential elections in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia on May 2.

The AFC will be appointing a permanent successor to Bin Hammam and hoping to put a difficult period of governance behind them.

Manilal, who is chairman of FIFA’s Futsal Committee, launched the 2012 World Cup in that mini version of football in Thailand last December.

He lists meeting Brazilian legend Pele and being elected to FIFA as his “fondest football memory” and is also a supporter of English Premier League giants Liverpool. (CNN)

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