ZURICH: Two FIFA executive committee members were banned and fined on Thursday following an investigation into allegations they had offered to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Nigerian Amos Adamu was banned from all-soccer related activities for three years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs ($10,130) while Reynald Temarii of Tahiti was banned for one year and fined 5,000 Swiss francs.
Four other FIFA officials were banned and fined, including Slim Aloulou, chairman of the FIFA committee that settles disputes between clubs, players and coaches.
FIFA said all had violated ethics codes.
However, a further claim from the British newspaper The Sunday Times that some bidding countries were guilty of collusion before the Dec. 2 vote in Zurich was dismissed by the sport's governing body's ethics committee.
The decision means that only 22 executive committee members, instead of the expected 24, will vote on Dec. 2 when FIFA chooses the hosts for the two tournaments.
“For as long as I am in the ethics committee, we will have a zero tolerance policy for all violations of standards,” said ethics committee chairman Claudio Sulser after a three-day hearing.
“We don't want cheaters, we don't want doping, we don't want abuses to be accepted.”
Adamu and Tahiti had been provisionally suspended following allegations by The Sunday Times that they offered to sell their votes to undercover reporters posing as lobbyists for an American consortium.
The allegations have cast a shadow over the race to host the two World Cup tournaments.
Russia and England are bidding to host the 2018 World Cup along with joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands. Japan, South Korea, Australia, United States and Qatar are candidates for 2022.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke confirmed that the vote would go ahead with two executive committee members short and said there was almost no chance of changing the controversial decision to choose the two hosts in the same vote.
“Yes, there will be only 22 members for the 2018 and 2022 votes,” he said. “I definitely think, as the FIFA president (Sepp Blatter) said, the game has started and you don't change the rules after the game has started. “It's 99 percent certain the executive committee will not spilt the 2018 and 2022 decisions, as was decided from day one.”
Tunisia's Aloulou -- the chairman of FIFA's dispute resolution chamber and a member of the players' status committee -- was banned for two years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs. Ahongalu Fusimalohi, general secretary of the Tonga FA, and Amadou Diakite from Mali, a member of the FIFA referees' committee, were banned for three years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs each.
Botswana's Ismael Bhamjee, an honorary member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF), was banned for four years and fined 10,000 Swiss francs. -Reuters