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FIFA bans top Caribbean official Burrell for role in Bin Hammam bribery plot; 3 others banned
ZURICH (AP) ' A senior soccer official from Jamaica received a six-month ban from FIFA for his part in a bribery conspiracy involving former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hamamm.
Horace Burrell is a longtime ally of former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner and the president of Jamaica's federation. Burrell must now withdraw his candidacy in the Caribbean Football Union presidential election next month.
Soccer's ruling body says three months of Burrell's ban from all soccer duty will be deferred for a probationary period of two years.
FIFA also gave an 18-month ban to one of the most senior women in international soccer, Franka Pickering of the British Virgin Islands. Two more officials received 30-day bans, one was reprimanded and five others warned.
FIFA issued 30-day bans to Osiris Guzman, president of the Dominican Republic soccer federation, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines general secretary Ian Hypolite. Fifteen days of their sanctions were deferred for six months.
The ethics panel met for three days this week to weigh evidence of Caribbean Football Union members allegedly accepting $40,000 cash payments from Bin Hammam in May.
The Qatari official made a campaign visit to Trinidad and Tobago, the home island of then-CFU leader Warner, to woo voters during his challenge to FIFA President Sepp Blatter. Bin Hammam was banned for life by FIFA in July.
FIFA's ethics panel reprimanded three other officials on Friday: St. Kitts and Nevis soccer president Anthony Johnson, U.S. Virgin Islands president Hillaren Frederick and Aubrey Liburd, vice president of the British Virgin Islands soccer body.
Five others received warnings, including FIFA committee members Yves Jean-Bart, the Haiti soccer president, and Richard Groden, Trinidad and Tobago's general secretary.
Former international referee Mark Bob Forde was also warned, along with his fellow Barbados official David Hinds and Burrell's federation general secretary Horace Reid.
FIFA said it dropped cases against David Fredericks of the Cayman Islands and Joseph Delves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines because they had left the sport.
"Should they return to football official positions, their cases would be examined again by the ethics committee," FIFA said in a statement.
FIFA did not give the officials the same "presumption of innocence" it accorded Warner in June when the 28-year executive committee veteran resigned rather than face sanctions.
However, the reputation of Warner's Caribbean soccer empire was shattered after the sanctions announced Friday.
Another of Warner's long-standing allies, Colin Klass of Guyana, received a 26-month ban from FIFA's ethics panel last month.
Also Friday, FIFA said a hearing into the case of Guyana official Noel Adonis was postponed and a case left open into the conduct of St. Lucia official Patrick Mathurin.
FIFA cleared Felix Ledesma of the Dominican Republic of committing any violation.
After the scandal emerged, Bin Hammam withdrew his election bid three days before the FIFA vote in June. He denies bribery and is appealing his life ban at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Blatter ran unopposed and won a fourth four-year presidential term. He was endorsed by 186 FIFA members, including most Caribbean islands.