By Andy Sambidge
FIFA ethics committee says Asian football chief has case to answer over allegations of 'cash for votes'
FIFA said Sunday that a full inquiry would be held to investigate corruption allegations involving senior officials Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner.
Qatar's bin Hammam, who pulled out of the election for FIFA president earlier on Sunday, and CONCACAF president Jack Warner will also be suspended from FIFA duties while the probe takes place.
However, allegations against FIFA president Sepp Blatter were dropped after the ethics committee decided he had no case to answer.
Blatter was included after bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), said the FIFA president, who is standing for a fourth term, might have known about cash payments to delegates.
Jerome Valcke, FIFA secretary general, said the election to appoint the new president would be held on June 1.
He added that an independent company would be appointed to carry out the investigation into the allegations against bin Hammam and Walker.
He also said that alleged bribes relating to Qatar's successful World Cup bid for 2022 was not discussed by the ethics committee.
He said FIFA was waiting for further information, adding that efforts to hold a meeting with a so-called whistleblower had so far failed. "We are still trying to have this meeting," he told reporters.
Petrus Damaseb, deputy chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee, said both bin Hammam and Walker "remained innocent until proven guilty". He added that their temporary suspension was to make sure that the investigation is not compromised.
The investigation was opened last week following a report by American FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer on a Port of Spain meeting linked to the election campaign and involving Warner, bin Hammam and Caribbean officials earlier this month.
Blazer's report mentioned possible violations of the code of ethics, including bribery allegations.
FIFA, which has 208 member nations, controls the management of the world’s most lucrative sport, and rakes in $4bn from every hosting of the World Cup, which is held every four years.
Bin Hammam was seen as central to Qatar’s successful bid to hold the 2022 World Cup in the Gulf state.
Blatter has since refused to rule out that vote being re-run. If FIFA opts to resubmit the vote on the 2022 World Cup, it will be the first time in the organisation’s 107-year history that such an event will have taken place.
Bin hamman said he didn't do anything wrong? Is his word not good enough for FIFA? And he has a very nice "sharp blue suit." which makes him look very much like the president. Who else could be found better?
If we travel to Qatar now, you will see thousands of qataris on the beaches, playing bare feet beach football, a true footballing nation ready to show the world it's passion and skill. If some other nations president had given money for his job, they would not be picking on him like Bin Hamman.
Ahh yes Marco, his nice blue suit says more than all the real evidence ever could.
If bribes were made then the World Cup should be given to America or Australia - someone who will do a decent job of it.
Someone innocent does not simply resign just like that. I'm afraid bin Hamman remains under a cloud of suspicion until proven otherwise. Qatar is a well respected country, but it must learn that money will not buy everything.
When England didn't get the World Cup, the press there vowed to expose the corruption behind FIFA.
Many said it was just sour grapes. But now it seems the claims have been vindicated.
I suspect at the end of this we will see that football was and is corrupt from top to bottom. There is so much money in the sport, and yet the results of games are essentially in the hands of one relatively low-paid man - the referee. The penalty and red card give the power to change games, and yet when referees make game changing 'mistakes' no one questions it. It is taboo to question the referee's honesty even after the Robert Hoyzer scandal.
FIFA has consistently opposed goal line technology and instant replays; both are measures which would make it significantly harder for refs to get away with terrible decisions. One can only speculate on the reasons, but come World Cup time, the big teams always seem to get some lucky decisions on their way to the latter stages. Will the questions now be asked?