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Page last updated at 13:50 GMT, Monday, 25 October 2010 14:50 UK

Fifa takes hard line on World Cup voting

Michel Zen-Ruffinen
Zen-Ruffinen was Fifa general secretary from 1998 to 2002

Fifa has said it will not tolerate unethical behaviour in the race to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

On Sunday former general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen was filmed appearing to suggest that two bidders could be involved in collusion.

That came after two Fifa members were suspended amid claims they offered to sell their votes in the 2018 contest.

"Fifa and the ethics committee are committed to zero tolerance for any breach," read a statement on Monday.

"[We] are determined to protect the integrity of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process."

The response followed the Sunday Times posting a film of Zen-Ruffinen - who was the organisation's general secretary from 1998 until he left in 2002 after accusing president Sepp Blatter of mismanagement - in which he appeared to suggest that 2018 bidder Spain/Portugal and 2022 hopeful Qatar had struck a deal to exchange votes. Both bidders have denied all allegations of collusion.

Zen-Ruffinen's allegations appeared only days after Nigerian Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii were provisionally suspended for 30 days pending an investigation into allegations that they offered to sell their votes when approached by Sunday Times journalists posing as lobbyists for an American consortium.

Four other Fifa officials - Slim Aloulou, Amadou Diakite, Ahongalu Fusimalohi and Ismael Bhamjee - have also been provisionally suspended from taking part in any football-related activity.

Zen-Ruffinen has since claimed his allegations were "exaggerated" in an attempt to impress the lobbyists, adding he was "totally against" bribery, but his claims will be used in an investigation which Fifa hopes to have concluded by mid-March.

"Fifa will provide all of the information collected on this matter to the ethics committee," the statement added. "Fifa has immediately requested to receive all the documents and potential evidence that the newspaper has in relation to this matter, and will in any case analyse the material available."

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

Current Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke has previously insisted that there had been no discussion as to whether the vote in Zurich on 2 December to decide the hosts should be postponed.

However it is not clear whether replacements would be installed for Adamu and Temarii if they were to be found guilty of the allegations against them.

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see also
Fifa begins World Cup bids probe
21 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa suspends duo over vote claim
21 Oct 10 |  Football
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

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