Blatter to break silence

2010-11-19 12:47
Sepp Blatter (Gallo)
Zurich - FIFA president Sepp Blatter kicked off an executive committee meeting on Friday in a bid to turn the page on a damaging World Cup bidding scandal that prompted a ban on two of its members.

FIFA's ethics committee on Thursday handed down fines and suspensions of one year for Oceania confederation chief and FIFA vice president Reynald Temarii and three years on Nigeria's Amos Adamu following newspaper allegations of vote-buying opportunities in the race to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Blatter was due to make a statement at 15:00 (SA time) after Friday's meeting, world football's governing body said in a statement.

He has already pledged to press ahead with the executive committee's vote to choose the host on December 2 without any changes to the rulebook.

Four other footballing officials were also sanctioned for up to four years as the ethics committee sought to tackle the allegations just two weeks before the hosts are chosen in a high-profile ceremony in Zurich.

"When someone joins FIFA they take on obligations and you don't have the right to mistakes," ethics committee president Claudio Sulser told journalists, underlining that officials must be "beyond reproach."

"The damage to FIFA's image is great," he underlined after the two decisions makers and four other footballing officials were sanctioned.

Sulser's committee was only set up in recent years after world football's decision makers weathered a series of money and influence peddling scandals in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

However, accusations of corruption were not retained against Temarii, while allegations of illicit collusion between bidders Qatar and Spain-Portugal in an exchange of favours between 2018 and 2022 candidates were thrown out.

Temarii, one of FIFA' seven vice-presidents, is suing the British newspaper The Sunday Times for libel after the reports by undercover journalists posing as US lobbyists.

He told AFP he was glad to have been "cleared" of corruption and said he would appeal against the sanction to demonstrate his "good faith" after he claimed to have been a victim of trickery.

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner said on Wednesday that British Prime Minister David Cameron had asked to meet him to rally support for England's 2018 World Cup bid.

Cameron has already met the South Korean FIFA vice president Chung Mong-Joon.

England, Russia and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium are in the running to host the 2018 World Cup while Australia, the United States, Japan, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for 2022.

Twenty-two out of the 24 FIFA executive committee members will now take part in the secret ballots to choose the 2018 and 2022 hosts out of the nine bidders in Zurich, including at least eight officials from candidate nations.

Read more on:    fifa  |  sepp blatter

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