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Fifa 'damaged' by scandal claims

Fifa headquarters
Fifa will decide on the location of the 2018 World Cup on 2 December

By David Bond
BBC Sports editor

Claims of corruption in the 2018 World Cup bidding process have damaged Fifa's reputation, says a member of the body which will choose the hosts next month.

Fifa will decide next week whether to take action against two executive committee members, Nigerian Amos Adamu and Tahitian Reynald Temarii.

The duo face corruption charges following a Sunday Times expose.

"I'm sure there's damage for Fifa and for the World Cup," Fifa executive member Junji Ogura told BBC Sport.

"We were very surprised and disappointed when the executive committee announced two members had been provisionally suspended. We are waiting for the outcome of the Fifa ethics committee later this month and we don't know if they are innocent."

Their [England's] chances are very big... the contents of the English bid everyone appreciates very much

Junji Ogura

Reporters from the Sunday Times posed as lobbyists for a consortium of private American companies who wanted to secure the World Cup for the United States.

Adamu has been accused of asking to be paid £500,000 - half of that up front - to build four artificial football pitches in his home country.

Temarii, a Fifa vice-president who represents the Oceania confederation, was alleged to have requested £1.5m for a sports academy to be built in the region.

Both deny any wrongdoing and will fight the allegations when they appear before Fifa's ethics committee at a three-day hearing that begins on 15 November.

Initially, England's chances did not seem to have been hit by the Sunday Times investigation.

But a member of the England bid team told the BBC last week that the campaign had been "significantly harmed" by a Fifa backlash against the British media.

One source said the reaction of the Fifa members to the expose was so bad that if the vote were tomorrow England would certainly lose.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter recently met with British Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss England's bid
Fifa president Sepp Blatter recently met with British Prime Minister David Cameron to discuss England's bid

Crucially, it now seems even long-term core supporters of England's bid have told officials they can no longer back them in the 2 December vote.

England 2018 fear further damage could be caused by another investigation into Fifa's conduct by BBC's Panorama.

Last week, it emerged that England 2018 chief executive Andy Anson met with the BBC director general Mark Thompson to discuss the possible upcoming programme.

In a boost for England's campaign, Ogura said that the media would not influence his decision, although he conceded that some executive committee members would be affected.

"Their [England's] chances are very big," said Ogura. "The contents of the English bid everyone appreciates very much."

Fifa's ethics committee will also consider claims made by former Fifa general secretary Michel Zen Ruffinen that Spain and Portugal's bid team for 2018 has formed a voting alliance with Qatar for 2022 - a move which is against Fifa's bidding rules.

Bid leaders from Spain/Portugal and Qatar are refusing to comment officially on the allegations, although the head of the Portuguese FA, Gilberto Modail, has categorically denied the claims.

Zen Ruffinen has also stated that his claims were an exaggeration to impress the reporters posing as American lobbyists.

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see also
Fifa row has hit England 2018 bid
04 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa official condemns vote sting
02 Nov 10 |  African
Fifa widens Cup bidding inquiry
18 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa row 'will not hurt England'
18 Oct 10 |  Football
Fifa examines vote selling claims
17 Oct 10 |  Football
The World Cup in their hands
02 Dec 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
Russia deny England bid criticism
19 Oct 10 |  Football

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