Fifa announced last night that it is widening its inquiry into bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and is now investigating at least two countries' national associations for alleged collusion.
Disciplinary proceedings have also been opened against the two Fifa executive members, Nigeria's Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, who were exposed by a Sunday Times investigation as having allegedly asked for cash in return for their World Cup votes.
The pair will be dealt with by Fifa's ethics committee tomorrow, and the same body is to separately investigate whether at least two countries campaigning to host the 2018 and/or 2022 tournaments breached bidding rules by cutting a deal on votes. Both the two men and the countries involved could be suspended by the ethics committee.
Fifa's statement said: "Fifa has opened proceedings against two current members of the Fifa executive committee to ascertain whether they have violated the Fifa code of ethics. Fifa also confirms that the alleged agreements between member associations would also be a clear violation of the bid registration document and the code of ethics. Therefore, an investigation has also been opened into the member associations in question as well as their bid committees."
Rumours of collusion between a 2018 bidder and a 2022 hopeful last month prompted Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke to warn all countries that mutual voting deals are against Fifa rules.
The scandal has cast a bad light on the whole bidding process for the World Cups – England are bidding for 2018 against Russia, Spain/Portugal and the Netherlands/Belgium, while the 2022 tournament hosts will be from Australia, the US, Qatar, Japan and South Korea.
England 2018 are hoping there will be no backlash against their bid from Fifa members angry that an English newspaper had been investigating them under cover. England had targeted Adamu as one of the crucial "neutral votes" they needed to win the contest.Reuse content