Thu, Oct 21, 2010 - Page 20 News List

FIFA begins probe into vote-selling charges

REUTERS AND AFP, ZURICH, SWITZERLAND, AND WELLINGTON

FIFA was to begin an investigation yesterday into allegations of vote-selling by two members of its executive committee in the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and that bidding nations may have colluded.

Tahitian Reynald Temarii and Nigerian Amos Adamu will be summoned as the ethics committee probes allegations they offered to sell their votes when approached by Sunday Times reporters posing as lobbyists for a US consortium.

The newspaper report said Adamu was filmed asking for £500,000 (US$799,600) for a personal project and that Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) president Temarii asked an undercover reporter in Auckland for NZ$3 million (US$2.27 million) to fund a sports academy at the OFC’s headquarters.

The committee, headed by former Switzerland international Claudio Sulser, will also investigate suspicions that bidding nations may have broken the rules by making agreements which FIFA said would constitute a “clear violation of the bid registration document and the code of ethics.”

Tamarii insists he was innocent and is vowing to clear his name, it was reported yesterday.

Temarii said he was quoted out of context in the Sunday Times expose which alleged he solicited money in return for his vote, the Web site insideworldfootball.biz reported.

“I am 100 percent convinced of my integrity ... I will prove I am an honest man,” he told the British-based Web site.

Temarii said the footage released by the Sunday Times did not give a true picture of what occurred.

“You have only heard 15 seconds of the interview,” he said. “Maybe you should hear the full 45 minutes, then you will understand everything.”

Temarii, a former player for French club FC Nantes, represents Tahiti and has headed the Auckland-based OFC — which mainly consists of small Pacific island nations — since 2004.

Any deals during the bidding process for a World Cup are banned under FIFA rules, but the Sunday Times said six senior officials, past and present, had told reporters that bribery offered the best chance of landing the tournament.

Temarii and Adamu could be suspended or kicked off the executive committee if found guilty.

World soccer’s governing body has not said how long the investigation would take nor whether any bids could be disqualified, though a media conference was slated for 4pm GMT when provisional measures could be announced.

The hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be decided in Zurich on Dec. 2, with the 24 members of the executive committee eligible to vote.

England and Russia are bidding for 2018, along with joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium, while Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Australia and the US are the candidates for 2022.

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