Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, last night promised to rid football of its "devils" as two senior officials caught up in a World Cup cash-for-votes scandal were provisionally suspended.
Amos Adamu from Nigeria and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, the two members of Fifa's 24-man executive committee which will decide on the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, were trapped by a Sunday Times undercover investigation asking for cash in return for their votes. The pair appeared before the Fifa ethics committee in Zurich yesterday and were suspended "from all football activity" pending a final hearing next month.
The committee will also continue to probe rumours of collusion between two countries bidding for 2018/2022, something explicitly forbidden by the regulations. Fifa has ruled out postponing the 2 December vote for the World Cup hosts, in which England are one of four bidders for the 2018 tournament, with a further five contesting the 2022 vote.
At a press conference, Blatter said: "It is a sad day for football because it's a sad day in life and you cannot have always sunny days. Our society is full of devils and these devils you find them in football. We have to fight for fair play, we have to fight for respect and especially we have to fight that the people in charge of Fifa behave as they should do and if this is not the case then we have to intervene.
"As the president of Fifa I appeal to and I expect all members not only of the Fifa executive committee but all members of the Fifa family to behave in an honest, sincere and respectful manner, because football is based on discipline, respect, fair play and solidarity," he added.
Four other Fifa officials – Slim Aloulou, Amadou Diakite, Ahongalu Fusimalohi and Ismael Bhamjee – have also been provisionally suspended from taking part in any football-related activity. Two are former executive committee members but Blatter was stung into insisting that Fifa was not corrupt.
"I was a little bit surprised that you say is Fifa corrupt," he said. "Fifa is actually in the world of sport a well-recognised organisation and institution and if there are some activities that are against the ethics and the morals that's why the ethics committee came in."Reuse content