FIFA upholds three-year ban for World Cup bids bribery

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

FIFA official Amos Adamu lost his appeal Friday 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," Lesieur told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.

"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 by the AP after the verdicts were announced.

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

Adamu, a former Nigeria 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 (?590,000) paid directly to him to build four artificial football fields in his native Nigeria. He said this could influence how he voted in the Dec. 2 elections.

Temarii was secretly filmed appearing to suggest he could receive NZ$3 million ($2.3 million; ?1.7 million) to fund a football academy in Auckland, New Zealand.

However, FIFA's ethics court cleared the Tahitian official of acting corruptly though 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.

Friday's ruling means he must serve a one-year ban instead of two.

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 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 Friday, three weeks before he hoped to have his FIFA seat renewed for four more years. He was a provisional candidate in a Confederation for African Football poll scheduled Feb. 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.