World Cup - FIFA to quiz bribery whistleblower

Thu, 19 May 10:49:00 2011

FIFA will interview a whistleblower at the centre of newspaper allegations that Qatar paid two members of the executive committee to vote for their bid to host the 2022 World Cup

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter, bidding to be re-elected for a fourth term on June 1, also refused to rule out the possibility of re-staging the vote, won by Qatar, should the allegations turn out to be true.

"We have organised and the newspaper have agreed (that) we will bring this whistleblower to Zurich and then we will have a discussion, an investigation," Blatter said.

Last Tuesday, a British parliamentary inquiry into why England failed to secure the 2018 finals was told by member of parliament Damian Collins there was evidence from the Sunday Times newspaper that Issa Hayatou of Cameroon and Jacques Anouma of the Ivory Coast were paid by Qatar.

Qatar, chosen in December to host the 2022 World Cup ahead of United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea, have categorically denied the allegations as have Hayatou and Anouma.

Asked if that Qatar hosting decision could be reversed, Blatter replied: "This is an idea circulating already around the world which is alarming.

"Don't ask me yes or no, let us go step by step."

"I haven't identified the general whistleblower, for the time being, we have no name -- if it is man, or woman," said Blatter.

"It will be the relevant authorities in FIFA which handles such cases, the secretary general (Jerome Valcke). We have to deal with this matter and solve this matter in the Congress."

Blatter, who stands for re-election against Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam at the Congress, said FIFA wanted the matter clarified by the end of next week.

"We must know if the allegations are true or not true or unproven. If they are not true, then this case is over," he said.

"Then we will see which instrument will work, it is of paramount importance that we have this situation clarified on the 27th.

"The (FIFA) ethics committee is already alerted and alarmed -- they are not just lying on the beach -- and the members will come for the congress and can convene at very short notice."

At the same UK parliamentary inquiry, former English Football Association chairman David Triesman accused FIFA executive committee members Jack Warner, Ricardo Teixeira, Nicolas Leoz and Worawi Makudi of asking for favours in return for their votes for England's 2018 World Cup bid.

UK Sports Minister Hugh Robertson hinted to BBC radio the following day that national associations may consider breaking away from FIFA if the world governing body does not act on the stream of allegations.

Blatter said he had received a letter from CONCACAF president Warner promising the North, Central America and Caribbean confederation's support in the election.

Blatter has already received backing from Europe, South America, Africa and Oceania although their national federations -- who hold one vote each -- can vote for whom the want.


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