March 7, 2019 / 12:30 PM / 4 months ago

Soccer: FIFA Council member banned over resale of World Cup tickets

FILE PHOTO: A FIFA sign is seen outside the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland December 17, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - A member of the decision-making FIFA Council has been banned for three months and fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($19,906) for breaching rules on the resale of World Cup tickets, the global soccer body said on Thursday.

FIFA said that Lee Harmon, president of the Cook Islands Football Association (CIFA), had “mutually agreed” the sanction with its ethics committee in a plea bargain following an investigation which began in July, shortly after the World Cup in Russia.

FIFA said the investigation concerned the resale of tickets for the tournament but did not give further details. It did not immediately reply to a request for additional information.

Harmon, who could not immediately be reached for comment, has been CIFA president since 1997 and a FIFA Council member since 2016.

His biography on the FIFA Council website says he has been a match commissioner and referee assessor at various FIFA tournaments and international matches.

FIFA has been trying to root out corruption and unethical conduct after several dozen soccer officials were indicted in the United States in 2015, plunging the global soccer body into the worst crisis in its history.

One of the measures was to replace the old executive committee with the larger FIFA Council, which has 37 members.

CIFA is among the smallest of FIFA’s 211 member associations and has been a member since 1994.

($1 = 1.0047 Swiss francs)

Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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