ZURICH - Two members of FIFA's executive
committee linked to claims of vote-selling for the 2018 and 2022
World Cup decision were provisionally suspended on Wednesday as
President Sepp Blatter lamented a "sad day for football".
Football's governing body are also probing allegations that
unnamed bidding countries had entered into agreeme
would breach the rules and code of ethics, Claudio Sulser, head
of the ethics committee, told reporters.
FIFA, however, said they did not expect the December 2 decision
on the two tournaments' hosts to be postponed.
"It's a sad day for football," said FIFA president Sepp
Blatter at the end of the conference.
"In football, you have the good players and bad players and
as president of FIFA it is my duty to protect the reputation of
football and FIFA from manipulation or bad behaviour."
The allegations, the result of a Sunday Times investigation
by reporters posing as lobbyists for an American consortium,
have cast a huge shadow over the race to host the 2018 and 2022
where only the 24 executive committee members vote.
England and Russia are bidding to host the 2018 World Cup
along with joint bids from Spain/Portugal and
Belgium/Netherlands while Japan, South Korea, Qatar, United
States and Australia are candidates for 2022.
Sulser said said that Oceania Football Confederation
president Reynald Temarii, a former professional player for
French club Nantes, and Nigeria's Amos Adamu had been banned
from any football-related activity for 30 days over claims they
offered to sell their votes.
Sulser also announced that four more officials - all former
executive committee members - had been suspended "in relation
to an alleged breach of the FIFA statutes, the FIFA code of
ethics and the FIFA disciplinary code linked to the bidding
process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups".
They were named as Slim Aloulou (Tunisia), Amadou Diakite
(Mali), Ahongalu Fusimalohi (Tonga) and Ismael Bhamjee
(Botswana). In 2006, Bhamjee was sent home from the World Cup in
Germany and subsequently quit the executive committee for
selling match tickets at three times their face value.
A final decision on the matter would be taken in
mid-November, said Sulser, a lawyer and former Switzerland
"We need to guarantee that the individuals affected can
defend themselves," he said "We don't want a public trial of any
sort, we want to respect their rights.
"But we have a zero tolerance policy... to protect the
ethics of FIFA, its image and football in general. We need to
respect all footballers, pros, amateurs and those who play
merely for fun.
"The evidence that has been presented to us today has led us
to take this provisional measure, as we considered that the
conditions were definitely met to take this decision and we deem
that it is crucial to protect the integrity of the 2018 and 2022
FIFA World Cup bidding process."
General-secretary Jerome Valcke denied that the bidding
process, which has seen explicit electoral campaigning and bid
leaders openly approaching executive committee members, was
"The process for 2018 and 2022 has been perfectly well
managed and organised," he said.
"There was no discussion about the postponement of the
decision on December 2 and there is no question about the process of
awarding these World Cups together on December 2."
But he added: "It's not a nice thing to go through. After
South Africa everyone was talking about football and what
football can achieve, all the social aspects and everything we
are doing around the world to develop football."
A clearly shaken Blatter admitted FIFA needed to restore its
credibility when he entered at the end to make his address.
"As president of FIFA, I appeal and expect all members of
the FIFA family to behave in an honest and respectful manner,"
"Let us do our job and clarify the situation and bring back
credibility to FIFA. We will try to do it but with more than one
billion people involved in football, you can't expect that
everyone behaves the way we would like.
"I was surprised that you (reporters) asked if FIFA was
corrupt," he added. "FIFA is a well recognised organisation and
"The good thing is that we have reacted immediately."
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