21 Oct 2010

FIFA provisionally suspends officials

8:26 pm on 21 October 2010

Football's governing body FIFA has temporarily suspended two members of its executive committee over vote-rigging allegations, the organisation's ethics committee chairman said on Thursday.

Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu were secretly filmed by a British newspaper allegedly offering to sell their votes on the bidding to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments.

The men have denied any wrongdoing and appeared before the ethics committee in Zurich on Wednesday.

Committee chairman Claudio Sulser said the provisional suspension will prevent the pair from taking part in any football-related activities until a full hearing takes place.

He added that two national bodies were also being investigated over collusion.

Mr Temarii, the president of the Oceania Football Confederation, is alleged to have asked an undercover reporter for $NZ3 million to fund a sports academy at the OFC's headquarters in return for his votes.

He says he has no intention of resigning and is 100% convinced of his integrity.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter described vote selling allegations as a sad day for the game and that his organisation owes it to fans to investigate.

Australia's chances threatened - Rufer

All White great Wynton Rufer says the suspension could threaten Australia's chances of hosting the Football World Cup in 2022.

He says it's in New Zealand and Oceania's best interests that Australia's bid is successful, because the world's top teams would want to play more football in this part of the world in the build-up to the tournament.

The hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be decided in Zurich on 2 December.

Russia and England are facing joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium in the race for the 2018 tournament.

The United States, Japan, South Korea, Qatar and Australia are competing to hold the event in 2022.

In a statement, Football Federation Australia says it does not think the action taken by FIFA will affect its chances of winning hosting rights.