Friday, June 24, 2011


Picture courtesy BBC
Imagine suspended FIFA executive committee member Amos Adamu sitting relaxed in one of its palatial buildings, with a smirk on his face, while watching the still unfolding corruption drama in the heart of world football governing body, FIFA. This time, the principal actors are its former vice president Jack Warner and Mohamed bin Hammam, who would have contested against Sepp Blatter during the FIFA presidential elections on June 1.

An ethics investigation had been opened into bin Hammam and Warner after allegations that payments of $40,000 (£24,500 or N6,125,000) were offered to football officials during a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (at the Regency Hyatt in Trinidad) on May 10 and 11 as an inducement to back Hammam in the June 1 presidential elections. Blatter – who also faced but passed the test of the ethics committee - was eventually re-elected unopposed after bin Hammam was forced to step down.

Warner and Hammam (Picture credits: Dailymail)
While the allegation cost bin Hammam the opportunity of challenging Blatter – who was re-elected unopposed - for the FIFA presidency, 68-year-old Warner weathered the storm until he later resigned from all his positions in international football on June 20. This meant that Warner would then escape further investigation into allegations of bribery.

However, this week, the scandal took a different twist after a leaked report from its ethics committee alleged that he had been told a week ago that it was quite likely he was, at the least, “an accessory to corruption”. According to the report, it was also found that there was “comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming" evidence that Hammam tried to bribe voters, and that Warner helped facilitate this. This revelation has renewed widespread calls for the world football governing body to reopen its investigation into the case. Warner also faces another moral dilemma as his resignation meant he was entitled to a whopping pension entitlements for life from FIFA, which included almost £23,000 (N5,750,000) a year for the next 28 years – a staggering £644,000 (or N161,000,000) - until he is aged 96; fuelling widespread anger in the football world that FIFA may have given a soft landing to the longest-serving member of its executive committee (since 1983). Until now, the football governing body had said the ethics committee procedures against him “have been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained”.

Last year November, Adamu and Oceania representative Reynald Temarii were suspended from the FIFA executive committee following the cash-for-vote scandal. Adamu was filmed asking for £500,000 (or N125,000,000) from undercover reporters to cast his vote in favour of the USA bid, while Temarii was also caught on camera asking for a cash payment to finance a sports academy.  Both men were handed hefty fines – Adamu received a three-year ban and 10,000 Swiss franc (£6,341 or N1,585,250) fine from FIFA's ethics committee, while Temarii was slammed a one-year suspension and fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,170 or N792,500) for breaching rules on loyalty and confidentiality. Four other FIFA officials, all former executive committee members, also received bans of between two and four years.

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