Fifa widens World Cup bribery probe

THE CRISIS enveloping the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup deepened last night when governing body Fifa revealed it had widened its investigation into claims of corruption.

Two members of Fifa’s executive committee, which will in December decide who hosts that 2018 and 2022 tournaments, are being probed over claims they offered to sell their votes to an undercover reporter posing as a businessman. Fifa now say other people in their organisation could be implicated and are also looking into suggestions that countries bidding to host the World Cup, which included England, may be guilty of collusion.

“Fifa has opened proceedings against two current members of the Fifa executive committee to ascertain whether they have violated the Fifa code of ethics, and has asked the chairman of the ethics committee to act without delay to take all possible steps, including the possibility of provisional measures, should the relevant conditions be met,” read a statement. Nigerian Amos Adamu, president of the West African Football Union, and Tahiti’s Reynald Tamarii, president of the Oceania Football Federation, are the two individuals under the microscope.

Fifa’s statement added: “Investigations are also ongoing in relation to other Fifa officials who may have been involved in the issue in question. Fifa also confirms that the alleged agreements between member associations would also be a clear violation of the bid registration document and the code of ethics. Therefore, an investigation has also been opened into the member associations in question as well as their bid committees.”

England are one of the leading candidates to host the 2018 World Cup, when the tournament is set to return to Europe, but face competition from Russia and joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Holland/Belgium. A vote will take place on 2 December.

United States withdrew from the race last week, but are vying for the 2022 event with Australia, Qatar, Japan and South Korea.