FIFA rejects Leslie Austin' s appeal

BY foxsports • November 7, 2011

Caribbean soccer leader Lisle Austin has lost his appeal against a one-year suspension.

FIFA says its appeals panel upheld Austin's ban for breaking soccer rules by seeking a court injunction against the governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Austin, who is banned until July, can challenge FIFA at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The case followed bribery allegations involving former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam and vice president Jack Warner.

Austin became acting president of CONCACAF when Warner was suspended and then tried to fire general secretary Chuck Blazer, whose evidence file sparked the scandal.

When CONCACAF suspended Austin, he petitioned a court in the Bahamas.

Former FIFA executive committee member Ahongalu Fusimalohi gave evidence to the CAS on Monday in Lausanne challenging his two-year ban, which runs until October 2012.

The Tongan official was caught in a British newspaper's sting during bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Fusimalohi and other former FIFA officials reportedly advised The Sunday Times' undercover reporters how to bribe their former colleagues.

Fusimalohi's ban cost him his job as Tonga Football Association general secretary, and his seat on the Oceania confederation's executive committee.

He now works as an adviser to Tongan Prime Minister Lord Tu'ivakano.

Fusimalohi was a member of FIFA's ruling body from 2002-06 and took part in the election of South Africa as the 2010 World Cup host.

He is the last of three officials to appear at CAS among six banned by FIFA last year based on the newspaper's evidence.

Amos Adamu of Nigeria, who FIFA ruled had asked for bribes, last month challenged his three-year ban from soccer. Adamu was barred from voting when FIFA's executive committee chose World Cup hosts Russia and Qatar last December.

Amadou Diakite of Mali faced the same FIFA charges as Fusimalohi. He appealed his two-year ban last month. Diakite had been a member of FIFA's refereeing committee.

The CAS panels are scheduled to give their three verdicts within several weeks.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said as part of his reform process he intends to revive his 28-member strategic committee, which includes representatives from clubs, leagues, players and referees. Among the members are U.S. Soccer Federation President Sunil Gulati, Barcelona President Sandro Rosell, former Italy coach Marcello Lippi and former French national team player Christian Karembeu.

The committee last met in April 2009.

''We want to be transparent and go through this procedure so that at the end of day, we can say 'FIFA is here, better than it has been,''' Blatter said. ''I need the support of the whole (soccer) community and also of the family members - if they are still in the family.''

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