By Nick Harris
19 October 2010
Fifa’s ethics committee, chaired by Switzerland’s Claudio Sulser, will convene on Wednesday for a meeting that will consider whether to sack two Fifa Executive Committe (ExCo) members – Amos Adamu of Nigeria, and Tahiti’s Reynald Temarii – implicated in alleged deals to sell their 2018 and 2022 Word Cup hosting votes, as exposed by the Sunday Times last weekend.
The integrity of the bidding process has already been damaged by the newspaper’s extensive investigation and now Fifa urgently needs to restore some confidence in the way it conducts such important business.
There are four bid groups for the 2018 World Cup: (in alphabetical order) England, Netherlands-Belgium jointly, Portugal-Spain jointly, and Russia. There are five bidders for 2022: Australia, Japan, Qatar, South Korea and the USA.
It is understood the ethics committee, in addition to considering Adamu and Temarii’s dealings with the ST’s undercover reporters, will specifically:
- examine details about “alleged agreements between member associations” as mentioned but not explained in the first sentence of the second paragraph of this press release from Fifa. Sources tell sportingintelligence the “agreements” in question involved favours and / or assistance offered by bidding nations to Temarii (on two occasions) and Adamu (at least once). Three separate bid teams are believed to have been involved, each from a different continent, and the nature of the agreements will come under intense scrutiny to ascertain whether they were within bid rules, and specifically whether they were directly related to voting.
- investigate Adamu’s claim that he had already promised his vote for 2022 to one nation. When and why he made that pledge – and to who – should be on the agenda. The reason may or may not be related to an “agreement”.
- explore what, if anything, Fifa can do about two other bidding teams for 2018 and / or 2022 who – completely separately from the alleged ‘favours’ deals – allegedly offered to buy Temarii’s vote and / or his influence to assist their bids, for $10m and $12m respectively. Key issues here will be Temarii’s explanation of those claims, and whether he can substantiate them with evidence that can be acted upon. This major subject may become part of another investigation altogether – or be dismissed. With Fifa it is never easy to tell, and full disclosure of its inner workings is rare.
It is widely expected that at least Adamu will lose his place on the 24-man ExCo that is scheduled to vote in secret on the locations of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on 2 December, if the vote goes ahead on that date. Temarii could also lose his job, although he will argue in a personal hearing he was naive rather than corrupt.
If one or both men are removed, Fifa will decide whether or not to replace them ahead of the 2018-2022 votes.
Fifa knows it must now be seen to act or be accused, not for the first time, of not taking allegations of corruption seriously.