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FIFA to intensively investigate World Cup votes scandal

FIFA, the football world governing body, has endured a miserable few months since the end of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Although the tournament in South Africa passed off without any mishap or major problems there were some issues concerning the non payment of tax on profits during the tournament, the lack of grass-roots development of football in Africa and the issuing and pricing of match tickets for matches during the tournament. Now, since an investigative journalist reported a story in an English newspaper about the possibility of securing votes on the FIFA board in exchange for money, the football world governing body finds itself under renewed criticism and is having to fend off accusations of corruption and dishonesty. FIFA have begun investigations against two executive members of their committee who apparently made available their votes, for who should host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, to the highest bidder. Many analysts are calling for an independent investigation citing that any investigation or consequent judgements made by the governing body will be tainted by suggestions of self service and bias.

The official FIFA statement read “An investigation has also been opened into the member associations in question as well as their bid committees. FIFA has again 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.”. The move was welcomed by many figures who appreciate FIFA’s efforts to stamp out corruption but others see the measures as not sufficient enough. FIFA secretary general Jerome Vackel has in the past warned members that collusion is also unethical and an exchange of votes is just as harmful as the sale of them. Russia and England are the frontrunners for the right to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup whilst Holland and a combined Spain / Portugal bid are also competing for the honour. For the 2022 bid the USA is competing against a bid from Japan and another from Australia.

Decisions were expected to be made in December 2010 but because of the investigation into allegations of vote-selling, collusion and corruption it is expected that FIFA might delay the official announcement pending a conclusion to the investigation. The source of the allegations is The Sunday Times, a renowned English newspaper. The Sunday Times indicated that the Nigerian Amos Adamu, a prominent member of FIFA’s executive committee who also acts as president of an important African football union, suggested he would be willing to endorse any candidate bid in exchange for $800,000. The Sunday Times also alleged that Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, the president of the OFC (Oceania Football Confederation), offered his vote in exchange for $2.3 million, which he stressed would be used for a sports academy.