Ex-El Salvador soccer chief sentenced to 16 months in FIFA corruption case

FILE PHOTO: Former president of El Salvador's soccer federation Reynaldo Vazquez is presented to the media after his arrest in San Salvador, El Salvador December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas/File Photo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The former president of El Salvador's soccer federation was sentenced on Thursday to 16 months in U.S. prison after pleading guilty to a charge arising from a global soccer corruption probe involving the payment of bribes to stage and broadcast matches.

Reynaldo Vasquez, 66, the former president of the Federacion Salvadorena de Futbol (FESFUT), or the Salvadoran Football Federation, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen in Brooklyn.

In pleading guilty last year to a racketeering conspiracy charge, Vasquez acknowledged receiving a $350,000 bribe in 2012 from Miami-based Media World, which brokers rights to broadcasts targeting Spanish speakers, to induce FESFUT to arrange media and marketing rights to qualifier matches for the 2018 World Cup.

Vasquez' case is part of a sprawling probe into corruption at FIFA, the world's soccer governing body, that has yielded 27 guilty pleas and two convictions at trial.

Breon Peace, the top federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, said in a statement that Vasquez and the other defendants "disgraced themselves by lining their pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, at the expense of a beautiful sport."

Vasquez led FESFUT in 2009 and 2010. FIFA banned him for life and fined him 500,000 Swiss francs ($512,610.21) in October 2019 after an internal ethics committee found him guilty of bribery.

($1 = 0.9754 Swiss francs)

(Reporting by Luc Cohen in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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