Nicholas eyes legal opinion on football ban

Friday May 31, 2019 Written by Published in Soccer
Former Oceania Football secretary general Tai Nicholas. 19053011 Former Oceania Football secretary general Tai Nicholas. 19053011

Former Oceania Football secretary general Tai Nicholas is discussing with his legal counsel for appeal options against the football ban handed to him by FIFA.

 

The world football governing body on Wednesday banned him for eight-year from all football-related activities and fined him $75,000.

According to TVNZ, an investigation by World Football’s independent ethics committee has found Nicholas guilty of misappropriating FIFA money, as well as offering and accepting gifts and other benefits.

The sum of money – and the gifts involved – have not been made clear.

In a statement yesterday, Nicholas confirmed the Adjudicatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee handed him a period of suspension and a fine in respect of certain breaches of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

“Except for an unpaid airfare in 2014, which I did not know was unpaid, I received no other personal benefit from any of the payments and transactions that FIFA allege,” Nicholas said.

“If the payments that I approved for officials within OFC for medical expenses, life events or funerals of which were approved by the OFC Board is bribery and corruption then I would do it again without hesitation since under our Pacific Culture and Custom, the welfare of our community has to be paramount.

“With respect to the Home of Football project - although I relied on staff and consultants to advise OFC on the contracts and payments for this project, as CEO you are ultimately responsible and I do take responsibility.”

Nicholas quit as OFC secretary general last year and relocated to Rarotonga.

He said he was overwhelmed by the messages of support he received from his well-wishers.

“But it is not about me or the football politics that this is tinged with, it should be about using football to make our young people better citizens, empowering our women and respecting our culture and custom.”

In the meantime, Nicholas said things happen for a reason as he is now enjoying his life back on his homeland, Rarotonga.

“This has enabled me to have quality time with family and friends and contributing where I can back to this great community we live in (whether as a Vaka constable, helping growers in Teimurimotia, working with at risk youth, bringing eco-friendly packaging, providing healthy food for our kids or assisting the Aronga Mana and a number of community and sporting groups).”

In a statement, FIFA said Nicholas had breached its code of ethics for bribery and corruption.

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