Former Costa Rican soccer federation president Eduardo Li was banned for life on Friday by FIFA’s ethics committee after he broke the global football governing body’s rules against bribery and corruption, the ethics panel said in a statement.
Li was arrested in 2015 in an international corruption probe and has since pleaded guilty in U.S. federal court to racketeering and wire fraud.
He also served on the executive committee for the North and Central America and Caribbean soccer confederation, was accused of seeking and taking bribes linked to the awarding of marketing rights for FIFA World Cup qualifying games.
Here is FIFA’s full statement:
The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee chaired by Mr Hans‑Joachim Eckert has banned Mr Eduardo Li, the former President of the Costa Rican Football Association (FEDEFUTBOL) and a former member of the CONCACAF Executive Committee, for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
The investigation against Mr Li was opened on 27 May 2015 and conducted by Dr Cornel Borbély, the chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, based on a press release from the United States Department of Justice on the same day.
On 7 October 2016, Mr Li pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy, one count of wire fraud, and one count of wire fraud conspiracy. His guilty plea related, amongst others, to two schemes by means of which he asked for and received bribes from sports marketing companies in relation to the awarding of marketing rights for FIFA World Cup qualifiers in the UNCAF region and for agreeing to the Costa Rican national team taking part in UNCAF region friendlies.
The adjudicatory chamber found Mr Li guilty of having violated arts 13 (General rules of conduct), 15 (Loyalty), 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting), 19 (Conflicts of interest) and 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics. As a consequence, the official is banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.
The ban comes into force upon notification of the decision.