Switzerland has decided to extradite Eduardo Li, a former president of Costa Rica’s football federation, to the United States as part of a criminal investigation into football's world governing body, FIFA.
The Federal Justice Office said on Tuesday that the legal conditions were fulfilled to hand over Li who was arrested in Zurich in May - together with six other FIFA officials - and has been held in custody since.
The US submitted a formal extradition request on July 1 that is based on an arrest warrant issued in May by the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York. Li faces accusations of accepting bribes in connection with the sale of marketing rights for World Cup 2018 qualifiers to a US sports marketing company.
By accepting bribes, Li is guilty of market distortion because the Costa Rican football federation was unable to negotiate a more favourable contract for media rights with other sports marketing firms. This constitutes what is termed as “unfair practices” under the Swiss Federal Act on Unfair Competition.
However, Li’s extradition is not yet legally enforceable as he has 30 days to appeal against the decision to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court.
He is the fourth FIFA official to face extradition to the US. Rafael Esquivel of the Venezuelan football federation and Eugenio Figueredo, a senior football official from Uruguay, have also been approved for extradition. Former FIFA vice-president, Jeffrey Webb from the Caymans has already been extradited to the US.
Those still awaiting an extradition decision from the Swiss authorities are Brazilian football federation head Jose Maria Marin, Julio Rocha, former president of the Nicaraguan soccer federation, and Costas Takkas, who worked for the Cayman Islands federation.