FIFA is to investigate reports that have claimed top officials are prepared to accept bribes in exchange for World Cup votes.
An undercover investigation by the Sunday Times last week resulted in Nigerian Fifa executive Amos Adamu and Oceania Football Confederation president Reynald Temarii being suspended amid allegations the pair were prepared to accept cash in return for their vote over who would stage the 2018 World Cup.
Yesterday’sSunday Times saw former FIFA general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen allegedly tell undercover reporters what it would take to win the support of some of the members of the FIFA executive committee who will vote on who should stage the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in Zurich on 2nd December.
Zen-Ruffinen, 51, allegedly suggests some of the members can be influenced by money, another by ‘ladies’, while another was ‘the biggest gangster you will find on earth’ and said he believed the minimum fee for this person would be $500,000.
Zen-Ruffinen allegedly adds that the Spain-Portugal bid to host the World Cup in 2018, for which England are also bidding, has struck a deal with Qatar to exchange votes, although Qatar have denied the claim.
A FIFA official confirmed on Sunday that the new allegations would come under the same investigation as the one already launched by the ethics committee last Wednesday. Its chairman, Claudio Sulser, said: “We are determined to have zero tolerance for any breach of the code of ethics.”
Zen-Ruffinen worked for 16 years at football’s world governing body before falling out with Blatter.
Zen-Ruffinen has claimed many of his comments were simply ‘impressions’ of the goings-on inside Fifa circles and that he had ‘exaggerated’ comments to keep the businessmen interested.
The 2018 contest to host the World Cup is between England, Russia and the joint bids of Belgium-Holland and Spain-Portugal.
The 2022 race involves the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar.