FIFA has slapped the wrists of one of its vice presidents over misconduct during an investigation into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. It also imposed six-month bans on two Congolese officials.
A statement issued by FIFA's Ethics Committee on Friday said it had fined Vice President Angel Maria Villar Llona 25,000 Swiss francs (23,200 euros, $25,000) for misconduct during the investigation into the bidding processes for the World Cups that were awarded to Russia and Qatar.
"Mr Villar Llona failed to behave in accordance with the general rules of conduct applicable to football officials in the context of the investigations conducted by the then chairman of the investigatory chamber of the FIFA ethics committee regarding the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bids," the statement said.
It added that he had avoided more severe punishment "as he subsequently expressed his commitment to collaborate and demonstrated a willingness to cooperate."
Villar, a lawyer who chairs FIFA's Legal Committee, had at first refused to cooperate with FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia, who the world governing body brought in to investigate in 2012.
Specifically, the fine was for an "indecent" remark during a one-hour interview with Garcia, the Spanish soccer association said in a separate statement. It said that during the meeting, Villar, the longtime president of the Spanish FA, had said something similar to "he's got a nerve" in his native language.
After learning of the verdict, Villar, who is also first vice president of UEFA, expressed relief but also insisted that he had done nothing wrong.
"On the one hand, I am very happy with the part of this judgment that finally clears my name after so many insinuations and continuous leaks about my lack of collaboration with the investigation," Villar said.
"On the other hand, at no moment have I lacked decorum nor have I failed to comply with any other order of the FIFA Ethics Committee during this process."
Six-month bans confirmed
In a separate case, the Ethics Committee confirmed six-month bans on two Congolese officials, Jean Guy Mayolas and Badji Wantete for misconduct during last May's FIFA congress.
The Committee statement said that their offenses related to "offering and accepting gifts and other benefits."
Both officials have 45 days left to serve after their provisional suspensions were first imposed in June.
pfd/ (AP, AFP, dpa)