Fifa bans six officials in corruption scandal

FIFA has taken stern action against six officials involved in a corruption scandal, but also re-awakened fears of a backlash against England's 2018 World Cup bid.

Nigeria's Amos Adamu became the first Fifa member ever to be banned for bribery when he was suspended for three years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs (6,200) by Fifa's ethics committee yesterday.

However, ethics committee chairman Claudio Sulser criticised the Sunday Times investigation which led to the scandal as "sensationalist".

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England 2018 have previously admitted the Sunday Times and BBC Panorama investigations have caused them significant harm and, furthermore England's 2018 rivals Spain/Portugal were cleared of colluding with 2022 Qatar in a vote-swapping deal.

Adamu was found guilty of asking for money in return for his World Cup vote after he asked undercover Sunday Times investigators to channel cash for a project through a family company.

The Nigerian's fellow executive committee member Reynald Temarii from Tahiti was suspended for a year and fined 5,000 Swiss francs (3,100) for breaching rules on loyalty and confidentiality.

Neither man will be able to take part in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes on 2 December, meaning only 22 executive members will now take those decisions.

Four other Fifa officials, all former executive committee members, have also received bans of between two and four years.

Despite basing the ethics committee findings on the Sunday Times' revelations and imposing punishments which surprised many observers with their severity, Sulser still blasted the investigation.

Sulser told a news conference in Zurich: "What I cannot tolerate is the fact that they changed the sentences, they changed the way they presented the truth.

"If footage is taken out of context, that's twisting the facts. They showed footage that lasted four minutes, we have looked at audio and video footage of several hours."

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Adamu and Temarii's absence from the executive committee may not aid England's campaign, as the bid had hoped they had their votes in the bag.

Sulser said no evidence had been found of the collusion claims but confirmed that Spain's executive committee member Angel Villar-Llona and Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam had only been contacted by letter and not interviewed in person.

Sulser said: "We didn't find sufficient grounds to reach the conclusion that there was any collusion, therefore we didn't move forward on that case.

"It's hard to prove collusion.Although doubts may arise about objectivity if we can't establish anything, it's clear we cannot say an offence has been committed." Sulser admitted that the scandal had caused "great damage" to Fifa's image.

Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke said the sanctions stood as a warning to anyone tempted to break the rules, but admitted that he could not guarantee the World Cup bidding process is free of collusion.

Valcke said: "Am I sure that 2018 and 2022 are free of any collusion? I can't answer this question, I don't vote and I have no idea what the discussions are between various members. As the Fifa president said before, having two World Cups being bid for at the same time opened the door to such conversations between executive committee members, particularly as you have eight bids involved who have executive members in the room.

"I hope that what's happened here in the last three days shows people should be careful of entering into any situation which is forbidden." Adamu has insisted he will appeal, but this will not be heard before the vote on 2 December.

The other officials sanctioned were Ismael Bhamjee of Botswana, who was handed a four-year ban, Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi of Tonga who were suspended for three years, and Tunisian official Slim Aloulou who was suspended for two years.

All four were also fined 10,000 Swiss francs (6,200).


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• Reynald Temarii (FIFA vice-president). Banned from football-related activity for a year and fined 5,000 Swiss francs (CHF).

• Amos Adamu (FIFA Executive Committee member). Banned for three years and fined CHF10,000.

• Slim Aloulou (chairman of the FIFA Dispute Resolution Chamber and member of the FIFA Players' Status Committee). Banned for two years and fined CHF10,000.

• Ahongalu Fusimalohi (General Secretary of the Tonga FA). Banned for three years and fined CHF10,000.

• Amadou Diakite (member of the FIFA Referees Committee). Banned for three years and fined CHF10,000.

• Ismael Bhamjee (CAF honorary member) Banned from football for four years and fined CHF10,000.

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