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Fifa suspends Nigerian and Tahitian over vote claim

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Fifa president Sepp Blatter: "Our society is full of devils, and these devils, you find them in football"

Fifa has provisionally suspended officials Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii over allegations of corruption.

The Fifa executive committee members are accused of offering to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 World Cup ahead of December's ballot.

They were secretly filmed by Sunday Times reporters, who posed as lobbyists for a consortium of American companies that wanted the event to go to the US.

Fifa will meet again in mid-November to make a final decision.

At that meeting Fifa will also study alleged agreements between member associations and their bid committees in relation to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

There is no discussion about the postponement of the decision on 2 December for the time being

Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke

The world governing body did not specify which countries could be under scrutiny.

Rumours of collusion between a 2018 bidder and a 2022 hopeful surfaced in September, prompting Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke to warn all countries that mutual voting deals are against Fifa rules.

England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium are competing to stage the 2018 World Cup, while the United States, Australia, Qatar, Japan and South Korea are all in the hunt for 2022.

Fifa's 24-man executive committee will decide who wins both ballots on 2 December when they meet in Zurich to conduct a secret vote.

The US - the last remaining non-European bidder - pulled out of the running for 2018 on Friday to focus its efforts on 2022. On the same day, England pulled out of the bidding to host in 2022.

The allegations of vote selling have plunged the selection process into crisis and Fifa chief executive Sepp Blatter admitted "it was a sad day for football" before insisting "confidence will be restored".

Nigerian Adamu, 57, allegedly said he wanted $800,000 (£500,000) to build four artificial football pitches. This would be against Fifa's rules.

The Sunday Times footage appears to show him asking for money to be paid to him directly for endorsing a US bid.

But on Thursday Adamu denied any wrongdoing, saying: "Whilst I wholly refute all allegations made, I fully support the inquiry since it is important that these claims are thoroughly investigated.

"Only by doing this will Fifa - and the wider football community - be able to trust that its appointed representatives are beyond reproach.

He added: "I am confident that my actions, the full and true extent of which were not detailed in the story published, will demonstrate not only my innocence and integrity, but also my commitment to football and to Fifa."

Tahitian Temarii, 43, who played for French club Nantes during the 1980s, is alleged to have asked for a payment to finance a sports academy. He has already pleaded his innocence.

"I am 100% convinced of my integrity," Temarii, head of Fifa's technical and development committee, previously told Inside World Football. "That's why I have stayed on."

Temarii suggested his comments on the Sunday Times video had been taken out of context.

However Fifa ethics committee chairman Claudio Sulser explained that the decision to provisionally suspend Adamu and Temarii was "fully justified and should not be put in question".

"It is crucial to protect the integrity of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process. We are determined to have zero tolerance for any breach of the code of ethics," added Sulser, a former Switzerland international.

Four other Fifa officials - Slim Aloulou, Amadou Diakite, Ahongalu Fusimalohi and Ismail Bhamjee - have also been provisionally suspended.

ANALYSIS

By Sports News Correspondent Tim Franks

Sepp Blatter, being the president of Fifa, did not want to lower himself to a media conference. He did, however, want to deliver a statement.

And while his second-in-command Jerome Valkce, along with the chairman of the ethics committee Claudio Sulser, had earlier been keen to say no-one had yet been found guilty, Blatter was more forthright: "Our society is full of devils," he announced. "And these devils, you find them in football."

Fifa is shaken. Six weeks before their biggest prize is due to be handed out, the integrity of the entire bidding process is in question.

Fifa secretary general Valcke, told the BBC that, come mid-November, and the decisive meeting of the ethics committee, it is perfectly possible that two applicant countries may be removed from the ballot on 2 December that will decide the World Cup hosts for 2018 and 2022.

Football's world governing body has been desperate to show that it can belie its slow-moving and inward-looking image.

But earlier this month, a senior Fifa official told the BBC about his concerns that some bidding countries might not be playing as straight as England. He also questioned whether Fifa executive committee members might be open to blandishments.

Around Fifa headquarters' carefully manicured grounds, the clamour of questions continue to sound.



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see also
The World Cup in their hands
02 Dec 10 |  Football
Fifa widens Cup bidding inquiry
18 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa row 'will not hurt England'
18 Oct 10 |  Football
World Cup bids head-to-head
17 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa warning on World Cup votes
21 Sep 10 |  Football
England withdraw bid for 2022 Cup
15 Oct 10 |  Football
Blatter holds 2018 Cameron talks
13 Oct 10 |  Football


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