Fifa official denies wrongdoing

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The Independent Online

Amos Adamu, the Nigerian official provisionally suspended by FIFA over bribery allegations, today denied any wrongdoing.

Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, two members of FIFA's 24-man executive committee who will decide which nations host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, were suspended by the governing body after being the subjects of an undercover investigation by The Sunday Times, who allege the pair asked for cash in return for their votes.

In a statement today, Adamu said: "Allegations were made against me by a British newspaper on 17th October 2010 which prompted a FIFA ethics committee meeting yesterday which concluded I should be provisionally suspended from my FIFA duties.

"Whilst I wholly refute all allegations made, I fully support the inquiry since it is important that these claims are thoroughly investigated.

"Only by doing this will FIFA - and the wider football community - be able to trust that its appointed representatives are beyond reproach."

The pair were yesterday provisionally banned "from all football activity" pending a final hearing next month.

Adamu continued: "I have yet to present my position to those investigating this matter, however I am confident that my actions, the full and true extent of which were not detailed in the story published, will demonstrate not only my innocence and integrity, but also my commitment to football and to FIFA.

"Since investigations are not yet complete, it would be inappropriate for me to comment further and I will not do so until FIFA's final conclusion is made public."

Reporters from The Sunday Times newspaper posed as lobbyists for a consortium of private American companies who wanted to help secure the World Cup for the United States.

They approached Adamu, the president of the West African Football Union, who is said to have told reporters that he wanted USD 800,000 to build four artificial football pitches in his home country.

Temarii, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, is also alleged to have asked for a payment, in his case to finance a sports academy.

The accusations led to yesterday's ethics committee meeting, at which the pair were suspended.

Four other FIFA officials - Slim Aloulou, Amadou Diakite, Ahongalu Fusimalohi and Ismael Bhamjee - were also provisionally suspended from taking part in any football-related activity.

The Sunday Times has provided all their evidence to FIFA - 90 minutes of footage and a full transcript - and further revelations are expected at the weekend.

The ethics committee will reconvene in the middle of November but it is not clear if the pair will be replaced on the executive committee before the December vote if they lose their places permanently.

The committee will also probe rumours of collusion between two countries bidding for 2018/2022, something explicitly forbidden by the regulations.

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