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November 14, 2015

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FIFA VP Villar fined in World Cup bid case

FIFA vice president Angel Maria Villar was warned and fined 25,000 Swiss francs (US$25,000) yesterday for misconduct during the 2018-2022 World Cup bid investigation.

The light sanctions from the FIFA ethics committee end a case which last year had the potential to bring a more severe verdict on Villar, who is the No. 2 elected UEFA official behind President Michel Platini.

The punishment was for an “indecent” remark during a one-hour interview with then-FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia, the Spanish soccer federation said in a statement.

Villar, the longtime federation president, said something similar to “He’s got a nerve” in his native language, according to the Spanish body.

“(Villar) regrets that oral expressions made by him have been perceived differently by some members of the FIFA ethics committee,” the federation said, adding he believed that “at no time he behaved in an indecent manner or breached any other provision of the FIFA Code of Ethics”.

Villar, a lawyer who chairs the FIFA legal committee, at first refused to cooperate with Garcia. He then tried within FIFA to have the former US Attorney thrown off a case which many saw as key to FIFA’s credibility.

The Spanish soccer federation president “failed to behave in accordance with the general rules of conduct,” during Garcia’s investigation, the FIFA ethics panel said in a statement.

FIFA ethics judge Joachim Eckert imposed a lighter sanction because Villar later “demonstrated a willingness to cooperate”.

Villar’s light sanction could mean that Franz Beckenbauer, a former FIFA executive committee member who took part in the December 2010 votes, will also escape a ban. His case also involves allegations of initially refusing to cooperate with Garcia.


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