FIFA bans SVG’s football chief

President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation, Venold Coombs in a June 2014 iWN photo.

FIFA, the world governing body for football, has banned the head of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation from all football-related activities — administrative, sports or otherwise — for two years.

Further, the adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has fined Venold Coombs US$40,000 for selling 2014 World Cup tickets at a “profiteering mark-up”.

The ban came into effect immediately, FIFA said in a release on Tuesday.

“The investigation into Mr. Coombs was opened on 9 June 2016 and focused on the resale of tickets for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™. The investigatory chamber analysed allegations that Mr Coombs had sold tickets purchased by the SVGFF and by him personally, in his capacity as a FIFA standing committee member, for a profiteering mark-up.

“The adjudicatory chamber found Mr. Coombs guilty of having violated articles 21 (Bribery and corruption), 19 (Conflicts of interest) and 15 (Loyalty) of the FIFA Code of Ethics. Mr. Coombs is therefore banned for two years from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at both national and international level.”

Coombs has been notified of the decision, FIFA said.

Coombs had denied being banned

In January, Coombs denied to iWitness News that FIFA had imposed a two-year ban on him.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” he told iWitness News via telephone on Jan. 3, 2017, amidst reports in footballing circles that Coombs had appealed the ban.

Coombs had further offered to answer any other questions in a face-to-face interview and said he would be available at any time the following day.

However, the following day, Coombs contacted iWitness News via an agent, saying that he was unwell and would be unable to attend an interview.

The agent said Coombs had said that he had come down with a sore throat.

Coombs’ denial about a ban had come amidst widespread reports from sources familiar with soccer administration in SVG that FIFA had given him one month to appeal the then alleged two-year ban.

A well-placed source had said that Coombs had confirmed last year that FIFA had asked him to show cause why he should not be banned for two years.

A source familiar with FIFA’s disciplinary proceedings had told iWitness News that if Coombs had, in fact, been banned, FIFA would make it public after any appeal is disposed of.