March 01, 2017

GENEVA (AP) The FIFA official who led inspections of 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidders has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport against his three-year ban for seeking unpaid intern work in Qatar for relatives.

Harold Mayne-Nicholls's hearing at CAS could be the first time that evidence from former FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia's investigation into the World Cup bid contests is tested in a court outside the FIFA judicial system.

Chilean official Mayne-Nicholls told The Associated Press in an email reply on Wednesday that he filed his appeal with CAS in February.

His appeal hearing before a panel of three CAS judges is likely to be scheduled within months. Verdicts are typically announced several weeks later.

Garcia led investigations of the World Cup contests, involving nine bids and 11 countries, which were won by Russia and Qatar.

His team's reports delivered in 2014 have not been published. They are expected to remain sealed while FIFA ethics cases are ongoing and a separate investigation led by Switzerland's attorney general continues into suspected money laundering linked to the bid contests.

Several soccer officials have been banned based on the so-called Garcia Report investigation. No case has yet led to a CAS hearing.

Mayne-Nicholls was unable to file an appeal at CAS until FIFA's appeal committee provided written reasons for his ban.

That document was eventually sent 10 months after his ban was cut from seven years to three, Mayne-Nicholls told the AP.

Mayne-Nicholls was a potential FIFA presidential election contender when his ethics case was opened in 2014. He was first sanctioned in July 2015 for requesting gifts and for conflicts of interest.

In 2010, FIFA appointed Mayne-Nicholls - then president of Chile's soccer federation - to lead a six-member team evaluating the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidders.

In his technical report, Mayne-Nicholls flagged eventual winners Russia and Qatar as presenting the most risk to FIFA as potential host nations. The FIFA executive committee largely ignored his report in its December 2010 vote.

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