…Promises quick action
By John Egbokhan
The President of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), Sepp Blatter yesterday said the British newspaper story alleging that two Fifa executive committee members, Dr. Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii, offered to sell their votes in the 2018/’22 World Cup bids, has damaged the credibility of the world football governing body.
He described the development as “very negative” for FIFA.
Blatter wrote in an open letter to his colleagues on Fifa’s executive committee that the Sunday Times’ allegation is a “very unpleasant situation” for football’s governing body.
“The information in the article has created a very negative impact on Fifa and on the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups,” Blatter said.
Blatter promised an “in-depth investigation,” conducted by Fifa’s independent ethics panel working together with secretary general Jerome Valcke.
He also asked executive colleagues not to comment publicly on the subject, but made no mention if the 24-man committee’s December 2 vote to choose the 2018 and ’22 hosts could be delayed for Fifa to conduct their probe.
The Sunday Times filmed Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Oceania Football Confederation president Reynald Temarii of Tahiti asking for money to fund projects.
The reporters were posing as lobbyists for a consortium of American companies who wanted to help bring the World Cup back to the United States by winning December’s vote. No money changed hands.
“The Sunday Times report today makes it clear, but it bears emphasis and repeating, that the USA Bid Committee had zero involvement with any aspect of the reporting that resulted in this story,” U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, chairman of the USA Bid Committee, said in a statement “This is a matter that is totally under the governance of Fifa, and therefore we will have no further comment.”
Adamu and Temarii, who could not be reached for comment, are on the committee which votes on the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Zurich in December’s secret vote.
Adamu was reportedly filmed telling reporters in London that he wanted $800,000 to build four artificial football pitches in his home country of Nigeria.
Adamu told the reporters he wanted the money paid to him personally, saying: “Certainly if you are to invest that, that means you also want the vote.”
When the deal was sealed in Cairo last month, the U.S. were still bidding for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but they announced on Friday that they were withdrawing from the contest for the earlier edition.
Referees’ committee member Amadou Diakite from Mali said they should offer about $1 million.
Slim Aloulou, the Tunisian chairman of Fifa’s disputes resolution committee, said they should not pay “peanuts,” suggesting bribing members one million pounds each.