Olympic chief intervenes in football row

Published Nov. 23, 2010 8:49 p.m. ET

The head of the Chilean Olympic Committee proposed Tuesday that a new election be held to choose the president of the country's football federation.

Neven Ilic, the president of the COC, said he was offering to mediate the dispute.

The Chilean football federation said in a statement Monday that Jorge Segovia, who was elected earlier this month, was not qualified to hold office because he had violated federation bylaws by signing commercial contracts. He is also the owner of Chilean football club Union Espanola.

Segovia beat current president Harold Mayne-Nicholls in an election held three weeks ago. Mayne-Nicholls' term expires on Jan. 15. Segovia claims the little-enforced rule is being used tactically to nullify his election.

"An article of the law is being applied to me that has not been applied to anyone else," Segovia, a Spanish businessman, said Tuesday on the radio station Agricultura. "Mr. Mayne-Nicholls does not know how to digest his election loss."

Chile national team coach Marcelo Bielsa resigned following Segovia's election.

Bielsa, who guided Chile to the last 16 at the World Cup in South Africa, was hired by Mayne-Nicholls. His farewell match was last week's 2-0 friendly win over Uruguay.


Mayne-Nicholls has been a supporter of smaller Chilean clubs, making sure they receive a share of the revenue generated by the World Cup success, while Segovia had the support of Chile's largest clubs, including Colo Colo, Universidad de Chile and Universidad Catolica.

Mayne-Nicholls was reported Tuesday to be out of Chile. He has maintained a high profile recently, heading a FIFA inspection team that traveled worldwide looking at plans from countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup. FIFA is to choose the winners next month.