FIFA man banned in bribery case free to return to football

Former FIFA executive committee member Amos Adamu’s three-year ban for seeking bribes to influence his World Cup vote has expired and he is free to work in again.

Amazingly, he is free to return to the football world again. And, clearly a man with no sense of shame, that is precisely what Adamu intends to do.

Adamu was one of a number of FIFA officials implicated in corruption allegations concerning the votes selecting Russia and Qatar as hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The Nigerian, whose ban ended Sunday, told The Associated Press¬†that he can ”only thank God it is over.” He says he holds ”no grudge against anyone” and wouldn’t comment on a possible return to the sport.

“My interest is not to rush back to the international federations,” Adamu said on the expiration of his ban. “But I am delighted that my ban has expired and I am free to contribute to the development of football and sports generally in Nigeria, Africa and the world at large.

“My focus is different now and those expecting me to rush back to football administration would be disappointed.

“I want to do serious business in sports. I am now a different person. This is the new Amos Adamu.”

Judged by FIFA standards of integrity, one can only assume that this ‘difference’ will manifest itself in a desire not to get caught in future.

Adamu was filmed in a British newspaper sting three years ago asking undercover reporters posing as bidders for £500,000 to influence his World Cup hosting vote, saying he wanted the money paid to him personally so he could finance building pitches in Nigeria. He was suspended and not allowed to take part in the December 2010 votes, was ultimately banned for three years by FIFA and failed in two appeals against his sanction.

When the Court of Arbitration for Sport rejected his second appeal and upheld his ban in 2012, a three-member panel at sport’s highest legal authority said his punishment was ”even relatively mild given the seriousness of the offence.”

FIFA ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia is looking into further allegations in a report by The Sunday Times that Adamu’s son, Samson, was paid $1 million by Qatar’s World Cup bid team to host a lavish dinner in South Africa before the 2010 World Cup.

The Qatar 2022 bid committee said it did not pursue involvement in the dinner and no agreement was signed and no payments were made.