FIFA investigating Cup bribery claims

Updated: October 17, 2010, 9:42 AM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- FIFA said will examine evidence from a British newspaper alleging that two executive committee members offered to sell their votes on World Cup hosts.

The Sunday Times filmed Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Oceania Football Confederation president Reynald Temarii of Tahiti asking for money to fund projects.

The reporters were posing as lobbyists for a consortium of American companies purporting to help bring the World Cup back to the United States. No money changed hands.

"The Sunday Times report today makes it clear, but it bears emphasis and repeating, that the USA Bid Committee had zero involvement with any aspect of the reporting that resulted in this story," U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, chairman of the USA Bid Committee, said in a statement to The Associated Press. "This is a matter that is totally under the governance of FIFA, and therefore we will have no further comment."

Adamu and Temarii, who could not be reached for comment, are on the 24-member committee that votes on the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on Dec. 2 in Zurich.

"FIFA and the FIFA ethics committee have closely monitored the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups and will continue to do so," soccer's governing body said in a statement. "FIFA has already requested to receive all of the information and documents related to this matter, and is awaiting to receive this material.

"In any case, FIFA will immediately analyze the material available and only once this analysis has concluded will FIFA be able to decide on any potential next steps."

The U.S. is bidding for 2022 with Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar. For 2018, England and Russia are competing along with joint bids by Belgium-Holland and Spain-Portugal.

Adamu was filmed telling reporters in London that he wanted $800,000 to build four artificial turf fields in his home country of Nigeria.

Adamu told the reporters he wanted the money paid to him personally, saying: "Certainly if you are to invest that, that means you also want the vote."

At the time the newspaper's deal was sealed in Cairo last month, the U.S. still was bidding for both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but it announced Friday that it was withdrawing from 2018.

Adamu had offered a "guarantee" that he would vote for the Americans in the 2018 vote, but said they would be his second preference in '22.

"I've already given my word to some other bid," he was heard saying on the Sunday Times website.

The Sunday Times, which published videos on its subscription-based website, says Temarii wanted $2.3 million to fund a football academy in Auckland. He also said backers of two other unidentified bidding countries had offered the FIFA vice president $10 million to $12 million to his Oceania confederation.

The Oceania Football Confederation issued a brief statement from its Auckland offices Sunday.

"OFC is aware of the story that appeared in The Sunday Times in England. As such, OFC is currently looking into the matter," it said.

The confederation's website includes a profile of Temarii which notes he "has facilitated groundbreaking agreements with a number of key partners including the European Union and Australian Government that have seen millions of dollars injected into grassroots initiatives over the past few years."

The Sunday Times said it was advised about how much they should offer as bribes by two other FIFA officials.

Referees' committee member Amadou Diakite said they should offer about $1 million.

Slim Aloulou, chairman of the disputes resolution committee, said they should not pay "peanuts," suggesting bribing members one million pounds each.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press