Richard Lai’s fall from grace spiraled down even further after the FIFA Ethics Committee decided to ban him for life.
Read about it more here: Lai banned for life
In April, Lai pleaded guilty to bribery charges.
PRESS RELEASE – Senior Vice President Pascual V. Artero will assume the role of interim President of the Guam Football Association following the resignation of Richard Lai, formerly at the helm of the organization, based on GFA statutes.
The change in GFA leadership will have no immediate effect on ongoing projects, events, and activities, Artero said.
Lai resigned from the GFA presidency effective immediately through an official letter to the organization. The letter was received after he entered a guilty plea to two counts of wire fraud conspiracy and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts at a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, New York Thursday, according to the U.S. Department of Justice Web site. The swift, voluntary resignation from the GFA presidency allows the organization to move on undistracted from its mission to provide global opportunities for the local community through the sport of football.
The court case charges Lai as an individual and does not implicate any other individuals or organizations, including GFA. Through several external audits, including an audit done by the Internal Revenue Service at the request of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, GFA has been cleared of any financial mismanagement.
In the 16 years of Lai’s presidency, the organization has seen notable improvements in infrastructure and level of play, paving the way for international tournaments, such as FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, to be held in Guam successfully, and national teams to be fully equipped to compete on the international stage.
During his tenure, the Matao, Guam men’s national team, as well as the Masakåda, Guam women’s national team, reached their highest rankings to date in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking and Women’s World Ranking. The Matao reached its highest rank, No. 146, in 2015 following victories over Turkmenistan and India in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 Joint Preliminary Qualification Round 2.
The Guam women’s national team reached its highest rank, No. 66, in 2003 following its silver-medal finish in the 2003 South Pacific Games in Suva, Fiji.
Additionally, infrastructure improvements include the construction of the GFA Headquarters and the expansion of the Harmon facility into the National Training Center, equipped with two full-sized artificial turf pitches, one full-size natural grass pitch, a mini pitch, futsal courts, a beach soccer court, and an additional building structure to house classrooms and a proposed strength and conditioning gym. The national training center is home to several domestic leagues enjoyed by over 3,000 youth players and 1,800 adult players.
Infrastructure improvements were made with grants from FIFA and AFC, as well as the Government of Guam, made possible by Lai’s networking at the international level. Lai allegedly became personally involved in the ongoing dealings by larger international organizations, which led to the investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
PRESS RELEASE – Guam Football Association President Richard K. Lai was recently re-elected to the Asian Football Confederation Executive Committee for a third consecutive four-year term during the 26th AFC Ordinary Congress held in Bahrain Apr. 30.
“I am sincerely honored by the confidence my colleagues from member associations across Asia have in me through my re-election to AFC’s Executive Committee,” said Lai, president of GFA since 2001. “As president of GFA, it has always been my mission to provide countless opportunities for our youth in Guam through the sport of football, and through my roles in FIFA, AFC, and EAFF, I’ve worked in collaboration with other executives in Asia to create pathways not only for young players, coaches, referees, and administrators in Guam, but also across the continent – helping to grow the sport locally and in Asia.”
Lai was first elected to the AFC Executive Committee in 2007, at the same time holding posts in AFC’s Futsal Committee and AFC’s Finance Committee. In 2011, Lai became chairman of both AFC’s Finance and Futsal Committees, as well as a member of AFC’s 2015 Asian Cup Organizing Committee, AFC’s AFAP Committee, and a co-op member of AFC’s Evaluation Committee.
In the East Asia region, Lai has held a seat in the East Asian Football Federation Executive Committee since 2002. The EAFF oversees football activity in 10 East Asian nations: Japan, Korea, China PR, DPR Korea, Guam, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Mongolia, Macau, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Lai also is the Chairman of the EAFF Finance Committee since 2004.
Between 2004 and 2011, Lai was part of FIFA’s Futsal Committee, and later was a member of FIFA’s Development Committee from 2011 to 2012. Currently, Lai is a member of FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee. FIFA’s Audit and Compliance Committee works to “ensure the completeness and reliability of financial accounting and reviews the external auditors’ report at the request of the Executive Committee, according to the FIFA Web site. Only one representative from each of the world’s confederations are elected into this committee during the FIFA Congress, with Lai as the representative from Asia.
Lai’s term in AFC’s Executive Committee will extend another four years to 2019. He joins Mariano V. Araneta, Jr. of the Philippines, Viphet Sihachakr of Laos, Francisco Kalbuadi Lay of Timor Leste, Mong Gyu Chung of Korea Republic, Sardor Rakhmatullaev of Uzbekistan, HE Mohamed Khaifan Matar Saeed Al Romaithi of the United Arab Emirates, Ahmed Eid S. Al Harbi of Saudi Arabia, Hachem Sayed Ali Haidar of Lebanon, Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat of Pakistan, and Mohamed Shaweed of Maldives. New to the election are five female Executive Committee members – one from each region of Asia: Moya Dodd of Australia (ASEAN), Han Un Gyong of DPR Korea (East), Zohra Mehri of Afghanistan (Central), Susan R.A. Shalabi of Palestine (West), and Mahfuza Akhter of Bangladesh (South).
In addition to AFC Executive Committee members, Executives also were elected during the AFC Congress. Current president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa retains his seat and will be joined by five Vice Presidents: Singapore’s Winston Lee Boon Aun, China P.R.’s Zhang Jilong, I.R. Iran’s Ali Kafashian Naeini, Qatar’s Saoud A. Aziz M A Al Mohannadi, and India’s Praful Manoharbhai Patel.
Japan’s Kohzo Tashima was elected as a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee, as well as Malaysia’s HRH Prince Abdullah Al-Haj Ibni Sulta Hj Ahmad Shah for a four-year term beginning this year. Kuwait’s HE Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al Ahmad Al Sabah was elected to an open position in FIFA’s Executive Committee until 2017, according to the AFC Web site.