Fifa upholds Adamu ban

2011-02-05 11:30

Geneva – Fifa official Amos Adamu lost his appeal yesterday against a three-year ban for seeking bribes during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding races.

The governing body’s appeals committee also rejected former Fifa vice-president Reynald Temarii’s appeal against a one-year ban for breaking confidentiality rules.

Fifa’s appeals panel partially allowed appeals by three former executive committee members – Slim Aloulou, Amadou Diakite and Ahongalu Fusimalohi – who had their bans from all football duty for corruption reduced by one year each.

The committee announced its verdicts after hearing all five cases at Fifa headquarters on Wednesday and Thursday.

Temarii’s lawyer, Geraldine Lesieur, said her client would file an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“I can confirm that we will pursue the case and try to overturn the decision,” said Lesieur.

“I asked him if he was satisfied (with Fifa’s verdict) and he replied in the negative. I believe that Reynald did not have very much hope that the decision would be reversed,” she said.

Adamu did not respond to calls made to his mobile telephone after the verdicts were announced.

All five officials can challenge Fifa’s rulings at sport’s highest court, based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Adamu, a Nigerian former sports minister, is the most senior Fifa official ever sanctioned for bribery.

The appeals body confirmed a Fifa ethics committee ruling that Adamu sought payments from British undercover reporters who posed as lobbyists.

The Sunday Times published edited video last October showing Adamu asking for $800 000 (R5.5 million) paid directly to him to build four artificial football fields in his native Nigeria.

He said this could influence how he voted in the December 2 elections.

Temarii was secretly filmed appearing to suggest he should receive NZ$3 million (R16 million) to fund a football academy in Auckland, New Zealand.

Fifa’s ethics court cleared the Tahitian official of acting corruptly, but suspended him for breaking confidentiality and loyalty rules by speaking to the reporters.

The revelations last October rocked Fifa and threw the World Cup bidding process into chaos less than two months before the hosts were chosen.

Fifa’s focus was distracted from its most prized competition by spending four weeks preparing cases for its ethics court while defending its reputation from global accusations that it was a corrupt institution.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter spoke of society being “full of devils, and these devils you find them in football”.

After Adamu, 58, and Temarii, 43, were suspended in November, a 22-man executive committee chose Russia to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar in 2022.

Three former members of Fifa’s high command were suspended after advising the reporters how to bribe Fifa officials and to pay $1 million.

Aloulou, a Tunisian lawyer, was one of the most senior figures in Fifa’s legal structure as he chaired the disputes resolution panel.

Yesterday’s ruling means he must serve a one-year ban instead of two years.

Fifa referees committee member Diakite, of Mali, and Fusimalohi, chief executive of the Tonga federation, were each initially suspended for three years, but will serve two.

A sixth official, Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana, did not appeal against his four-year ban.

Bhamjee lost his place on the executive body after a ticket-scalping scandal at the 2006 World Cup.

He was replaced by Adamu.

Adamu’s exile from football was confirmed yesterday, three weeks before he had been hoping to have his Fifa seat renewed for four more years.

He was a provisional candidate in a Confederation of African Football poll scheduled for February 23 in Khartoum, Sudan.

Temarii was replaced last month as a Fifa vice-president and Oceania confederation president by his former deputy, David Chung of Papua New Guinea.

The appeals body upheld fines for Adamu of Sf10 000 (R72 468), and Sf5 000 for Temarii.

Aloulou’s fine was halved to Sf5 000. Diakite and Fusimalohi must now pay Sf7 500 Swiss Francs instead of Sf10 000.

The two-day hearings were chaired by Bermuda Football Association president Larry Mussenden, a former attorney-general in the Caribbean island’s government.

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