FIFA bans two Executive Committee members
At a FIFA press conference earlier today, Claudio Sulser, Chairman of FIFA’s Ethics Committee, presented the decisions made by the Ethics Committee to ban the two FIFA executives, accused of selling their votes in the election to host the 2018 World Cup, from all football related activities. Four other FIFA officials received similar penalties.
Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii, members of FIFA’s Executive Committee and two of the 24 people who were to decide on the host for the coming two World Cups on 2 December, were caught on tape by undercover journalists from the British newspaper The Sunday Times last month offering to sell their votes for money.
FIFA announced on a press conference on 20 October that the two members would be provisionally suspended pending further investigation of the Ethics Committee. This investigation has now concluded.
Amos Adamu has been banned from all football related activities for 3 years and sentenced to pay a fine of CHF 10.000. Temarii has been banned for 1 year and received a fine of CHF 5.000, Claudio Sulser declared. A total of six FIFA officials were fined and banned for periods of between one and four years after they were found to have breached various articles of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The vote for the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be carried out on 2 December as planned, but with only 22 Executive Committee members participating, Sulser stated.
The banned officials have been given 10 days to appeal the decision of the Ethics Committee
One party went free of sanctions
Sulser ended the official statement with what he called a personal comment.
He argued that there was one party against whom the Ethics Committee did not impose sanctions, and that was the Sunday Times. He expressed his dismay with the newspaper, arguing that it had twisted the facts in the way the findings were presented.
He continued by saying that he had great respect for journalists in general “Your job is too important for the functioning of democracy to be taken lightly. You need to tell the truth always, you need to establish the real facts, not those that could be in your material interest, not those that could lead to sensationalism and to selling more newspapers”.
Jens Sejer Andersen, International Director of Play the Game argues; “I find it striking that the chairman of the Ethics Committee leveled such strong criticism against the Sunday Times, accusing the newspaper of twisting the facts, seeing as the sanctions are based on the recordings made by the Sunday Times”.
“If the facts have been twisted, the accused must have a very good chance of winning their appeals” he commented.
FIFA's ethical responsibility
With regards to the responsibilities of FIFA, Sulser stated that “when you enter FIFA, you must accept certain obligations and one of those is found in the code of ethics. As long as I’m in the Ethics Committee, we will have a zero tolerance policy”.“FIFA bears special responsibility to safeguard the reputation of football worldwide. We need to face these problems and not ignore them” he added.
After the press conference, Jens Sejer Andersen commented; “The press conference raises more questions than it answers. We were not told what exactly the six officials were sanctioned for. And before we know this, it remains an open question what is worst in the eyes of FIFA; that you are corrupt or that you share information on who is corrupt”.
“It is remarkable that the official who asked for most money on the Sunday Times’ video was the one who received the most lenient sanction” he continued.
On a more positive note, Andersen found it noteworthy that the current Ethics Committee has gone further and more into depth than any previous Ethics Committee in FIFA.
“One must also compliment Sulser and General Secretary Jerome Valcke for being fairly honest in their assessment of the election of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts” he added.
“Neither of them made any guarantees that we will now see a completely fair election and their body language and way of avoiding the questions suggest that the election might still happen based on shady agreements between the countries.”
“This must be a serious let down for the applicant countries, who altogether have spent tax payers’ money worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the campaigns to become a World Cup host. They have a right to demand an objective and professional process, and it does not seem that FIFA is ready to deliver this yet.” Andersen concluded.
See the FIFA press release here