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FIFA bosses face ethics investigation

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-05-27

FIFA president Sepp Blatter (pictured) and his challenger in upcoming elections, Mohamed bin Hammam, face an ethics probe after the sport's governing body broadened its investigation into allegations of bribes being offered in exchange for votes.

REUTERS - FIFA president Sepp Blatter will face an ethics investigation alongside his election rival Mohamed bin Hammam after soccer’s governing body widened its enquiry into bribes-for-votes allegations.

In shock move on Friday, FIFA said it was calling Blatter to appear at an ethics hearing on Sunday, three days before he stands against challenger Bin Hammam in the election for the most powerful job in world soccer.

Bin Hammam was summoned on Wednesday, along with CONCACAF president Jack Warner and two Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials, after fellow executive committee member Chuck Blazer reported a possible case of bribery in the election campaign.
 
According to FIFA’s statement on Friday, ethics proceedings were opened against Blatter at Bin Hamman’s request because the FIFA president may have known about cash payments to delegates at the meeting.
 
“I cannot comment on the proceedings that have been opened against me today,” Blatter, who has been FIFA president since 1998, said in a brief statement on Friday. “The facts will speak for themselves.”
 
Bin Hammam has denied any wrongdoing in the matter, which concerns a CFU meeting attended by Bin Hammam and Warner on May 10-11.
 
The presidential election, in which the two men are the only candidates, is due to go ahead on June 1 at the annual FIFA Congress in Zurich but is now surrounded by uncertainty.
 
FIFA would not comment on the potential consequences of the ethics committee hearing, to be headed by Namibia’s Petrus Damaseb.
 
However, a previous ethics committee hearing in November handed down provisional bans to two executive committee members who allegedly offered to sell their votes in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting contest to undercover newspaper reporters.
 
If such a ban was handed to one or both of the candidates it would make it impossible to hold the election on June 1.
 
Blatter is standing for a fourth term against Qatari Bin Hammam, head of the Asian Football Confederation.
 
The crisis erupted on Wednesday following a report by CONCACAF general secretary Blazer alleging possible violations of the FIFA code of ethics.
 
On Thursday, Bin Hammam said in a statement that Blatter was aware of alleged payments and should therefore be investigated himself.
 
FIFA accepted that view and will invite Blatter, who recently described the governing body as comfortably off with over $1 billion in reserves, to explain his conduct in the matter.

 

Date created : 2011-05-27

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