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Fifa bans Adamu and Temarii over World Cup vote claims

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Can England still dream of 2018? BBC sports editor David Bond investigates

Fifa executive committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii have been banned from voting in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting ballot.

Adamu was banned from football activity for three years and Temarii for one year over claims they asked for money in exchange for World Cup votes.

The 2018 Spain-Portugal and 2022 Qatar bids were cleared of collusion.

The ballot will proceed on 2 December with 22 voters - instead of 24 - and nine candidates across the two events.

Following an investigation by Fifa's ethics committee, Adamu - who has pleaded his innocence throughout - was fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,200; £6,300) and Temarii 5,000 francs, while four other Fifa officials, all former executive committee members, were suspended.

DAVID BOND'S BLOG

Ismael Bhamjee of Botswana was handed a four-year ban, Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi of Tonga three-year punishments and Tunisia's Slim Aloulou a two-year suspension.

All four, who were fined 10,000 Swiss francs, were found to have broken rules on general conduct and loyalty and of failing to report evidence of misconduct in relation to the case.

"For as long as I am in the ethics committee, we will have a zero tolerance policy for all violations of standards," said Fifa ethics committee chairman Claudio Sulser after a three-day hearing.

"We don't want cheaters, we don't want doping, we don't want abuses to be accepted."

The Fifa ethics committee's ruling followed a British newspaper's claim that Nigerian Adamu and Tahitian Temarii, who is the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) president, asked for payments in exchange for votes.

WORLD CUP BIDDERS
2018: England, Russia, Spain/Portugal, Netherlands/Belgium
2022: Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea, United States

Adamu and Temarii were secretly filmed by reporters from the Sunday Times, who posed as lobbyists for a consortium of American companies that wanted to bring the tournament to the US.

Adamu allegedly said he wanted $800,000 (£500,000) to build four artificial football pitches. This would be against Fifa's rules and he was found guilty of breaching bribery rules.

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

Temarii is also alleged to have asked for a payment, in his case to finance a sports academy, and he has been punished for breaching rules on loyalty and confidentiality.

"I am profoundly disappointed with the ethics committee's findings and had honestly believed I would be exonerated of any charges by now," said Adamu.

Claudio Sulser, chairman of the ethics committee, announces the decision

"I am innocent of all the charges levelled against me by the ethics committee and I completely refute the decision they have made.

"As yet I have not been advised of the grounds of the ethics committee's decision but regardless, I will be lodging a full appeal against it with immediate effect."

Temarii's lawyer Geraldine Lesieur accepted that his appeal will not be held before the 2 December World Cup vote - a blow to Australia and England who had counted on his support.

"He has got mixed emotions - the most important thing for him was to be cleared of corruption," she said. "It is extremely strange - he was not questioned about the problem of confidentiality."

Despite basing the investigation on the Sunday Times' revelations, Sulser accused the paper of being "sensationalist".

"What I cannot tolerate is the fact that they changed the sentences, they changed the way they presented the truth," he said.

"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."

We were always confident of this outcome because we have conducted ourselves throughout the campaign adhering to the highest ethical standards

Hassan Al-Thawadi, chief executive of Qatar 2022

But Jonathan Calvert, the editor of the Sunday Times' Insight investigations team, said: "It smacks of Fifa trying to shoot the messenger just because we present them with unpalatable evidence of the misconduct of their members."

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 ethics committee also examined claims of collusion between the joint Spain and Portugal bid and that of Qatar, and, after both bid teams had denied all allegations, found in their favour.

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

"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."

Hassan Al-Thawadi, chief executive of Qatar 2022, welcomed the ruling by Fifa.

"We were always confident of this outcome because we have conducted ourselves throughout the campaign adhering to the highest ethical standards," he said.

"This puts an end to the rumours and hearsay which have dominated the agenda in recent weeks.

"We have maintained a dignified silence to allow fifa to deal with this issue. Fifa have now done so, they have given us a clean bill of health and it is time to move on."

This will increase the anger among some voters who will, perhaps, take it out on the English and so there is potentially an impact on the England bid

BBC sports news correspondent James Pearce

In terms of the suspensions of Adamu and Temarii, former Football Association executive director David Davies suggested their omission could affect the England 2018 team's chances of success.

"Its implications for England's bid are very real because there had been some confidence that one or both of them might have been England voters when it came to the crunch," Davies told BBC Radio 5 live.

"We shall see but Fifa cannot be accused of sweeping the issue under the carpet, that's clear."

BBC sports news correspondent James Pearce added: "Those members suspended believe they have not necessarily done as much wrong as they've been accused of.

"It is fairly murky but the overall picture is two senior men have been punished.

"This will increase the anger among some voters who, perhaps, believe there shouldn't have been a punishment and will, perhaps, take it out on the English and so there is potentially an impact on the England bid."

England lost out in the race to host the 2006 World Cup to Germany when Alec McGiven led the bid.

"It does make you slightly wonder what else has gone on in the past," he suggested. "Some of these other people named were voters for the 2006 decision but at least Fifa has taken action on these individuals.

"The natural follow-up is for Fifa to re-examine the whole process - the way these things are decided. It's probably not very likely but I think that's the implication that flows from today.

"They've found this corruption, there must have been more going on in the past and there will be more in the future unless they make the system more transparent, accountable, and open."



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see also
Fifa bans over vote scandal
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Russia 2018 bid dealt Fifa blow
17 Nov 10 |  Football
Qatar 2022 bid hopes suffer blow
17 Nov 10 |  Football
2018 chief dubs BBC 'unpatriotic'
17 Nov 10 |  Football
Nigeria's Adamu to discover fate
17 Nov 10 |  African
England 2018 team write to Fifa
15 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa chief warns Spain and Qatar
10 Nov 10 |  Football
Fifa 'damaged' by scandal claims
09 Nov 10 |  Football
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


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