x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Fifa investigates into allegations of bribery

Fifa is considering postponing the decision on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as it investigates allegations that two senior members offered to sell their votes.

Fans celebrate after Spain won the World Cup in July. A decision on who will host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments is due on December 2.
Fans celebrate after Spain won the World Cup in July. A decision on who will host the 2018 and 2022 tournaments is due on December 2.

Fifa is considering postponing the decision on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as it investigates allegations that two senior members offered to sell their votes.

Although some members are insistent the vote should go ahead on December 2 as planned, it is understood that a postponement is being talked about in senior circles of the world governing body.

England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium are bidding for the 2018 World Cup while Qatar, the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea are campaigning to host the 2022 event.

Fifa's ethics committee will this week begin investigating revelations in TheSunday Times concerning two members of Fifa's 24-man executive committee, Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, the president of the Oceania Football Confederation.

Reporters from the British newspaper posed as English-based lobbyists for a consortium of private American companies who wanted to help secure the World Cup for the United States.

At an initial meeting in London, Adamu is said to have told reporters that he wanted US$800,000 (Dh2.93 million) to build four artificial football pitches in his home country.

Temarii is also alleged to have asked for a payment, in his case to finance a sports academy.

When contacted by Press Association Sport, Adamu refused to comment. Temarii was unavailable for comment.

The Oceania Football Confederation released statements yesterday revealing they will investigate the allegations, while Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, wrote an open letter to the executive committee, published on Fifa's website apologising for the "very negative impact" of the allegations and promising a swift investigation.

However, Chuck Blazer, a member of Fifa's executive committee, believes world football's governing body is unlikely to delay the December 2 decision on who will host the World Cup.

Blazer, speaking in a telephone interview with Reuters from his home in New York, said he expected Fifa's ethics committee to deal with the allegations very quickly.

"The ethics committee will address these issues directly and it should not take them very long to ascertain all the facts," Blazer said. "The date of December 2 was chosen specifically ahead of the 'political season' of congresses and elections, and I see no reason why this would be delayed," he said. "The investigation can start right away. There is no reason why it couldn't."

"I don't think people should get the wrong impression of the Fifa process either. On the contrary, it was not as if journalists have been monitoring a bid that seemed dubious in any way, but they have created a scam, a trap."

The decision will be made by the executive committee, although a source close to the executive, who asked not to be named, said both Adamu and Temarii could find themselves suspended or off the committee by then if the claims against them are substantiated. "Fifa will not allow anyone or anything to damage the reputation of the voting procedure," the source said.