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FOOTBALL

Fifa bans Mongolian football boss over bribes

Zurich-based Fifa, the world's governing body for football, on Wednesday banned Mongolian football chief Ganbold Buyannemekh for five years for taking bribes to vote for former Qatari official Mohamed bin Hammam in the organization's leadership election.

Fifa bans Mongolian football boss over bribes
Fifa headquarters in Zurich. Photo: Fifa

The ban was ordered by the adjudicatory chamber of the Fifa ethics committee, which is currently studying a report into bin Hammam's possible role in influencing the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, a Fifa statement said.
   
In a statement, Fifa said the Mongolian would be barred from "any kind of football-related activity at national and international level" during his five years' of punishment.
   
Buyannemekh "solicited and accepted payments" from disgraced former Asian Football Confederation chief and Fifa executive member bin Hammam, the statement said.
   
Fifa said the offences occurred during the 2009 elections for its executive at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) congress, as well as during the Fifa presidential election in 2011.
   
Buyannemekh is currently a member of the AFC executive committee as well as other key committees in the regional group.
   
He is the second top Asian football official to be banned over alleged payments from bin Hammam.
   
One year ago, Sri Lanka's then football chief, Manilal Fernando was banned for life over bribery and corruption charges.
   
Fernando was a close ally of bin Hammam who resigned from FIFA's executive and as AFC president in December 2012, days after the governing body launched a new corruption inquiry against him.

He had earlier successfully appealed against a life ban over other corruption allegations.
   
British media reports have said bin Hammam also spent millions of dollars to seek support from Asian and African officials for his homeland Qatar, which won a controversial 2010 vote to secure the 2022 World Cup.
   
Qatar has strongly denied any wrongdoing or any link to bin Hammam's actions.

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FOOTBALL

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame

A Swiss super fan who has shot to fame after images of him watching Switzerland’s win over France went viral told the media he was unaware of his viral fame - but that he was overwhelmed with the world’s attention.

‘Overwhelmed’: Unaware Swiss super fan stunned about viral fame
Image: Twitter.

Like most Swiss football fans, Luca Loutenbach’s Monday evening – highlighted by a surprise upset win over the current World Champions and tournament favourite France – went about as well as you could have expected. 

But while his side were putting on the pressure through late goals to push the game into extra time, Loutenbach’s image was being shared across the world. 

Two pictures of Loutenbach, juxtaposed from before and after Switzerland scored an equaliser in the 90th minute to send the game to extra time, were widely shared. 

The images were even shared by Sadiq Kahn, the mayor of London, who congratulated Switzerland and said the images summed up the beauty of football. 

On Tuesday, Loutenbach spoke with Swiss tabloid Blick to tell the story. He said he had no idea about the images as his phone had no reception in Romania – and only found out after the game. 

“I didn’t have a network during the game. But some fans around me were connected to the internet and quickly realized what was happening. What an incredible buzz!” said the man from the canton of Jura. 

While Switzerland have made it further than they have in their history in the tournament, Loutenbach is far from a bandwagon fan. He told Blick he’s seen around 50 national team games before. 

“It’s the most beautiful day in the history of Swiss football, let’s not be afraid of saying it. It is the accomplishment of the immense work of the ASF (Federation), of (coach) Petkovic and of the whole team” he said. 

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