FIFA begins WC bid corruption appeals
A FIFA appeals hearing for five officials suspended after allegations of corruption during the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding races began on Wednesday.
They included FIFA executive committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii who were barred from the Dec. 2 votes by the governing body's ethics committee.
Nigerian Adamu, who received a three-year ban from all football duty, became the most senior FIFA official ever sanctioned for bribery.
FIFA said its independent appeals committee, chaired by Bermuda Football Association president Larry Mussenden, opened the two-day hearings on Wednesday but gave no further details. Mussenden was a former attorney general in the Caribbean island's government.
Adamu, a former sports minister, has been quoted by Nigerian media this week saying he is confident of victory.
FIFA's ethics court found he sought bribes from undercover reporters who posed as lobbyists for a sting published by British newspaper The Sunday Times last October.
If cleared, Adamu could stand for re-election to the FIFA post he has held since 2006. He is a provisional candidate in a Confederation for African Football poll scheduled for Feb. 23 in Khartoum, Sudan.
Temarii, from Tahiti, was cleared of corruption but got a one-year ban for breaking confidentiality rules by speaking to the fake lobbyists.
He was replaced last month as a FIFA vice president and Oceania confederation president by his former deputy, David Chung of Papua New Guinea.
Three former members of FIFA's ruling panel are also appealing bans of up to three years.
Slim Aloulou, a Tunisian lawyer who chaired FIFA's disputes panel, is challenging a two-year ban. FIFA referees committee member Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi, chief executive of the Tonga federation, were each suspended for three years.
They reportedly advised the reporters how to bribe FIFA officials and how much to pay.
A sixth official, Ismail Bhamjee of Botswana, has not appealed his four-year ban. Bhamjee was replaced by Adamu on FIFA's 24-member executive body after a ticket scalping scandal at the 2006 World Cup.
After Adamu and Temarii were suspended, a 22-man FIFA executive committee chose Russia to host the 2018 World Cup and Qatar in 2022.