ZURICH - FIFA president Sepp Blatter
agreed on Friday that football's world governing body needed to
become better at weeding out corruption after two executive
committee members were banned and fined for improper conduct.
He added that collusion was difficult to exclude from the
World Cup bidding process and that, once forced into action,
FIFA had responded well to newspaper allegations of vote-selling
in the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The hosts of both tournaments will be decided at a FIFA vote
on December 2, a huge occasion in which leading political figures,
including heads of state, from all nine bidding nations will be
"The World Cup is not only a footballing, emotional
competition, where people assemble, they dance, they are happy,"
said Blatter, who has already conceded FIFA was wrong to choose
both hosts at the same time.
"December 2 is not just an important date for football, it
is important for international politics.
"We have nine bidding countries for the 2018 and 2022 World
Cups, they will send their top representatives, we have to deal
with nine countries sending prime ministers, heads of state and
other high-ranked political personalities."
"We have a political dimension and we have to look to avoid
in the future such situations, this is an item under scrutiny.
"With experience in life, you should not repeat twice the
Executive committee members Amos Adamu of Nigeria and
Reynald Temarii of Tahiti were accused last month of offering to
sell their votes to undercover reporters from the Sunday Times
posing as lobbyists for an American consortium.
Temarii was banned for one year and fined on Thursday after
FIFA's ethics committee found him guilty of violating rules on
general conduct and loyalty while Adamu was banned for three
years and fined after being found guilt of corruption.
With voting for the World Cup hosts restricted to the
executive committee, it means that only 22 officials, not 24,
will choose the hosts of the two tournaments.
Blatter was not happy with the newspaper's methods, even
though he admitted FIFA had been forced to act.
"It gave us the opportunity to clean a little bit whatever
has to be cleaned but I cannot say it is very fair when you open
traps for people," said Blatter, adding that he was satisfied
with the ethics committee's decisions.
"It is not fair but when the aims and objectives are to have
a clean sheet in the football, then I can understand."
FIFA also looked into allegations of collusion between
Spain/Portugal, one of four bids for the 2018 World Cup, and
Qatar, one of five candidates for 2022, but found no evidence of
"You cannot avoid collusion but if there should be something
wrong in such collusion, then naturally somebody should
intervene," said Blatter.
"You find collusion in politics, in elections, when two
parties are enemies during the year and then they run together."
England, Russia and Belgium/Netherlands are also bidding for
2018 with Japan, South Korea, United States and Australia the
other candides for 2022.
A FIFA committee has compiled detailed reports on each of
the nine bids but Blatter admitted that intense political
lobbying could just as easily decide the outcome.
Asked if the quality of the bids would be decisive, Blatter
said: "In principle, yes, otherwise it wouldn't be worth making
a technical report if finally those who are going to vote are
not using the information of such reports.
"But we are not only dealing with the World Cup institution,
we are also dealing with human beings and they have ideas other
than those which are available in the documents."
Blatter said that the only possible way for the banned
executive committee members to be replaced was if they dropped
their appeals and resigned.
"For the time being we have only 22 voters but when a member
of the executive is banned and accepts this ban he must be
replaced immediately by the region he comes from," he said.
"As long as these particular two members say they are going
to appeal then the appeals cannot be dealt with before December 2."
He did not see England's bid to host the 2018 being affected
by British media reports. "I don't think they will take so much
into consideration what has happened," he said.
"It is with optimism that I'm looking forward to the last
few days before the decision day of December 2," he added.
"I am convinced that between now and December 2 there will
be no more cases."
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