Undercover investigation was 'unethical' says Fifa figure

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The Independent Online

A senior FIFA figure has condemned an undercover investigation into World Cup bidding as "unethical".

Two FIFA executive committee members, Nigeria's Amos Adamu and Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, have been suspended pending a FIFA ethics committee hearing after allegations in the Sunday Times that they asked for money for projects in return for World Cup votes.

The ethics committee are also investigating separate allegations that Qatar's 2022 bid has colluded with the Spain/Portugal 2018 bid, something forbidden by bidding regulations.

Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Qatari president of the Asian Football Confederation and a member of the executive committee which will vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts, has expressed doubts about the fairness of the newspaper's investigation.

His remarks will increase concerns that England's 2018 bid may suffer from a backlash by FIFA members unhappy at the Sunday Times sting and a programme currently being worked on by BBC Panorama.

Bin Hammam said on his website: "Forging identity, fabricating evidence and setting traps are unethical behaviours in my point of view.

"One thing about Middle East media, these are rare happenings there.

"Is it ethical to use unethical measures to protect the ethic?

"How can we serve justice and look for fairness by not acting justly and fairly? How will we clean dirty laundry by using dirty water?"

The collusion allegations are likely to be dismissed later this month, though Adamu and Temarii could face sanctions and Bin Hammam echoed FIFA president Sepp Blatter in conceding it was a mistake to have the 2018 and 2022 votes on the same day, December 2.

Bin Hammam added: "We all underestimated the passion for the game around the world; we miscalculated how much football has influence over the feelings of people.

"By admitting that mistake, FIFA executive committee members realised how much it is impossible to demand from their member associations not to talk to each other about their bid.

"President Blatter said in the [FIFA executive committee] meeting, 'out of the nine bidding nations, eight of them have representatives in the FIFA ex co and all of them are friends. How can I ask them not to talk or discuss issues about the World Cup bid..?"

Bin Hammam added: "The World Cup is the largest business of FIFA. Collusion will always have a chance to happen as far as two bids will be decided together, but we all pray that no corrupted collusion will find its way to the bids."

Bin Hammam also revealed it was UEFA president Michel Platini who made the decisive intervention to prevent the 2022 vote being postponed until next year when he told last Friday's meeting 'we cannot change the rule of the game during the game'.

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