- Associated Press - Friday, April 22, 2016

ZURICH (AP) - A seven-year FIFA ban imposed on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid inspector has been cut by four years on appeal.

The original ban imposed on Harold Mayne-Nicholls last year by the FIFA ethics committee was “not proportionate,” the soccer body’s appeal panel ruled Friday.

The former Chile federation president can return to the sport in July 2018.

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

While inspecting Qatar’s hosting bid in 2010, he approached the Aspire training center in Doha about unpaid work and intern positions for a son, nephew and brother-in-law.

Mayne-Nicholls later flagged Qatar as the riskiest option to FIFA of five 2022 World Cup candidates. Qatar won anyway.

Also Friday, the FIFA appeal panel upheld a 10-year ban for corruption on Ganesh Thapa, a former Asian Football Confederation vice president.

However, Thapa’s sanction was backdated and will end 210 days earlier after he was given credit for stepping aside from his duties leading Nepal’s soccer federation during the investigation.

Thapa was a senior AFC official when it was led by now-banned Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar. His misconduct related to elections for Asian seats on the FIFA ruling committee in 2009 and 2011, the FIFA ethics panel said in giving its verdict.

Thapa was banned for seeking and taking “cash payments from another football official, for both personal and family gain,” FIFA said in a previous ruling.

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