Life bans for ex-Honduras president Callejas and Hawit

ZURICH (Reuters) - Former Honduras president Rafael Callejas, who later became a soccer official, was given a life ban from soccer on Monday amid the fallout from the scandal which threw FIFA into turmoil last year.

Rafael Callejas, the former president of Honduras, departs after pleading guilty in a hearing at U.S. Courthouse for the Eastern District of New York in the Brooklyn borough of New York March 28, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

His compatriot Alfredo Hawit, a former FIFA vice-president and former acting president of the CONCACAF confederation which runs the sport in North and Central America and the Caribbean, was handed the same sanction.

Both men had pleaded guilty in a U.S. court this year to charges that they participated in bribery schemes which were uncovered by a U.S. investigation into corruption in football.

They were among several dozen officials, including former FIFA executive committee members, and sports marketing firms indicted in the U.S. last year, sending FIFA into an unprecedented crisis.

FIFA’s own ethics committee said on Monday that the two men had broken the sport’s rules on bribery and corruption, conflicts of interest, loyalty and duty of disclosure.

“As a consequence, both officials are banned for life from all football-related activities (administrative, sports or any other) at national and international level,” it said.

Hawit pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York in April to racketeering conspiracy, two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

The former executive committee member admitted to having received hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from two sports marketing companies that were seeking media rights for football matches and tournaments.

Hawit, due to be sentenced in March, had been acting head of CONCACAF for six months when he was arrested in a luxury Zurich hotel as he was due to attend a FIFA meeting in December last year.

His predecessor Jeffrey Webb had been arrested at the same hotel the previous May. He has pleaded guilty in the U.S. to offences linked to racketeering, fraud and money laundering and been given a life ban by FIFA.

Callejas, president of Honduras from 1990 to 1994, pleaded guilty in March to charges of racketeering and wire fraud conspiracy.

He was the president of the Honduras soccer federation, FENAFUTH, from 2002-15 and was a member of FIFA’s marketing and television committee.

He admitted in court that he sought bribes in connection with awarding media and marketing rights for World Cup qualifying matches. He is due to be sentenced on Jan. 27.

Additional reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Michael Shields and Alison Williams