FIFA’s investigation of former Asian Football Confederation (AFC) president Mohammad bin Hammam has landed on India’s doorsteps. The world governing body, on Thursday, suspended former All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary Alberto Colaco from all football-related activities for a period of three years for indulging in corrupt practices.
FIFA found Colaco guilty of accepting a payment in the context of the elections for the FIFA Executive Committee at the AFC Congress in May 2009. Colaco is alleged to have received cash payments to the tune of $23,000 by Bin Hammam after winning a guarantee of his support.
The Qatari, a close friend of Colaco and former AIFF president Priya Ranjan Das Munshi, had visited India in 2009 to lobby for the elections. India was represented by Colaco and AR Khaleel for the meeting in Malaysia. Bin Hammam is accused of spending $1.7 million to win votes across Asia. Bin Hammam beat Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain 23-21 in an election marred by allegations of vote-buying from both camps.
FIFA ethics committe’s adjudicator banned Colaco for all national and international roles in the sport for three years, effective November 27. “He was found guilty of violating art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting), art. 19 (Conflicts of interest), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) and art. 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics,” FIFA said in an email statement.
Colaco, who served as the AIFF general secretary for 10 years, has been involved in Indian football in various capacities. After stepping down from the national federation, he was appointed general secretary of the Goan Football Federation. He was also a consultant to IMG-Reliance and a national broadcaster.
Colaco remained unavailable for comment on Thursday.