World football’s governing body FIFA said yesterday that it would investigate allegations that two of its Executive Committee members, including Nigeria’s Dr
. Amos Adamu
, offered to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 World Cup.
It said it has decided to look into the matter and that a preliminary report would determine what steps to take. “FIFA will immediately analyse the material available and only once this analysis has concluded will FIFA be able to decide on any potential next steps,” it said in a statement issued yesterday.
However, both Mr. Amos Adamu and Reynald Temari were reported yesterday to have denied the British newspaper’s allegations, although no details were provided.
FIFA’s announcement of a probe came on the day that Mr. Amos Adamu, the Nigerian FIFA executive committee member hit newspaper headlines across the world following allegations that he was caught on video tape trying to sell his World Cup vote for half a million British pounds (about N122.5 million).
The British Sunday Times claims that is caught Mr. Adamu on film agreeing to sell his vote for £500,000 – demanding an upfront payment of £250,000 – to back the United States’ bid to host 2018 World Cup.
The United States is now bidding to host the 2022 World Cup, but at the time of the alleged recording, it was still bidding for the 2018 World Cup, the paper said.
Adamu, who is President of the West African Football Union, is currently serving as executive member of the FIFA with a voting right to select which country will host the World Cup in 2018. Britain is among the countries vying to host it.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague demanded an immediate investigation, and FIFA officials yesterday said they would launch one after receiving the tapes from the Sunday Times.
“During our investigation Amos Adamu, member of the (FIFA executive) committee, was filmed negotiating a deal for his vote in which he would receive £500,000, half to be paid upfront,” the paper says in its front page lead story.
The paper alleges that he agreed to sell the vote to its investigative reporters posing as US businessmen after they approached him. It also says Adamu “wanted the money to be paid personally to him”, quoting him as guaranteeing his vote and saying: “Certainly if you are to invest that, that means you also want the vote.”
Since Saturday night, electronic news media in Britain and across the world have been awash with the leaked Sunday Times report, featuring the alleged video film with Adamu’s picture and voice as well as the blurred pictures of the investigators during the alleged negotiation.
The paper also claims that another member of the FIFA executive committee, Tahiti’s President of the Oceania Football Confederation Reynald Temarii, was recorded asking for £1.5 million to establish a sports academy in return for his vote.
British Foreign Secretary Hague said, “These are serious allegations.” He said FIFA should ensure that it does its work in “a way that is ethically correct”.
FIFA will decide in Zurich, Switzerland on Dec. 2 which countries will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments. The choices will be made by its 24-member executive committee.
England and Russia are bidding for the 2018 finals along with joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands. The candidates for 2022 are the United States, Japan, South Korea, Qatar and Australia.