Fresh allegations of corruption have been levelled at several members of the FIFA executive members who will determine the vote for the hosts of the 2018 and 2002 World Cup finals.
The Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported that Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil, African football chief Issa Hayatou and his South American counterpart Nicolas Leoz were connected to a secret list of payments from bankrupt FIFA marketing partner ISMM/ISL a decade ago.
The firm collapsed in 2001 amid controversy over alleged backdoor payoffs for TV rights contracts, prompting a FIFA criminal complaint that was subsequently dropped.
A court in the Swiss canton of Zug eventually handed down fines on three ISMM/ISL executives in 2008 for embezzlement or accounting offences.
Leoz was already noted as a beneficiary of suspect payments from the marketing firm, alongside several companies based in offshore havens, in evidence presented by the Zug prosecutor in 2005.
All three executive committee members are among the officials due to vote on Thursday on the World Cup hosts.
FIFA’s ethics committee barred two others, Oceania football chief Reynald Temarii and Nigeria’s Amos Adamu, from the vote, when it suspended them for misconduct or bribery in relation to the current bidding race after an investigation by the Sunday Times.
There were also signs that the secret ballot could become a confused affair as the Oceanian Football Confederation (OFC) sought the right to vote by replacing Temarii.
Although FIFA had suggested it would run the ballot with 22 of the 24 committee members, England 2018 bid chief executive Andy Anson told journalists he was anticipating there would be 23, changing the complex equation.
“I think our colleagues in the OFC are confident they’ll be voting this week,” Anson told journalists.
The latest allegations will be outlined in tonight’s BBC Panorama programme. FIFA and the accused executive committee members declined interview requests to respond the allegations made in the broadcast.
England, Russia and joint bids by Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium are in the running to host the 2018 World Cup while Australia, the United States, Japan, Qatar and South Korea are bidding for 2022.