The head of FIFA’s inspection team for the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will appeal against a seven-year ban from football after it was revealed he asked for favours from Qatar.
Harold Mayne-Nicholls, 54, was in charge of the commission which assessed each bid and which rated Qatar, the winner of the vote to host the 2022 tournament, a high-risk option due to the searing summer heat.
A leaked email from FIFA’s chief ethics investigator Cornel Borbely said Mayne-Nicholls “repeatedly asked for personal favours – including special treatment for family members” from Qatar shortly before he produced the evaluation report.
A FIFA statement issued yesterday read: “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee, chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert, has decided to ban Harold Mayne-Nicholls, former chairman of the Bid Evaluation Group for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups and former Chilean Football Association president, from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for a period of seven years.
“The decision was taken following a hearing in the presence of the accused and the chairman of the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee, Dr Cornel Borbely.
“In accordance with article 36 of the FIFA code of ethics, more detailed information will be given after this final decision becomes effective.”
Mayne-Nicholls asked for places for his son and nephew at the Aspire academy in Qatar plus tennis coaching opportunities for his brother-in-law, according to investigators, but the Chilean insists he will fight the ban all the way to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
He also expressed surprise that FIFA had announced the sanction.
He said on his Twitter account: “I’m surprised FIFA have advertised a sanction that has pending appeals, and may be overridden by higher judicial bodies.
“I will appeal to the higher courts established in FIFA statutes and TAS/CAS.”
Russia were awarded the 2018 World Cup while Qatar were named as hosts for the 2022 event, with the voting process for both events being embroiled in controversy and criticism since then – the Swiss authorities are currently investigating the bidding process around the two tournaments.