Fifa tries to untangle World Cup voting

2010-10-28 12:09

Fifa’s executive committee started a two-day meeting today that could change the shape of the scandal-hit 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contests.

The meeting was scheduled some time ago to select a voting procedure that the 24-man executive would use in a December 2 secret ballot to choose the two hosts, but it has been overtaken by shady events.

Allegations of bribery and corruption involving two voters and two of the nine bidders have shaken Fifa’s control over the two-year multimillion-dollar global lobbying contest.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter chairs a meeting that will consider delaying one or both World Cup decisions until more credibility and public confidence has been restored to the process.

Blatter will lead a governing body reduced to 22 members, after Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii from Tahiti were provisionally suspended by Fifa’s ethics committee, which is examining evidence of alleged corruption discovered by the British Sunday Times newspaper.

The panel is also investigating two bidders for alleged collusion in the 2018 and 2022 elections, and four former Fifa executives who were reported as saying “voters’ support was for sale”.

Ethics chairperson Claudio Sulser said last week that he aims to publish findings by November 17, but warned that Adamu and Temarii could be suspended for a further 20 days – beyond the December 2 polling day – if his team needs more time to investigate.

Voting also could proceed with one or more candidates disqualified if the ethics probe decides bidding rules were broken by striking a vote-swapping alliance.

The 2018 World Cup contest is between England, Russia and the joint bids of Belgium-Holland and Spain-Portugal.

The 2022 race involves the US, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar.

In other scheduled business, Fifa’s executive will receive a progress report on preparations for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Fifa also will discuss ongoing problems in its relations with some national members, including Nigeria, Togo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Blatter is expected to appear at a news conference after the meeting ends tomorrow.

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