LONDON, Oct 17, 2010 (AFP) - A FIFA investigation was under way on Sunday after a British newspaper reported senior officials had offered to sell their votes in the bidding race for the 2018 World Cup.
An undercover investigation by The Sunday Times alleged that Amos Adamu, a Nigerian member of the world football governing body's executive committee, asked for 800,000 dollars (570,000 euros) to endorse one of the bid candidates.
It filmed him meeting with undercover journalists posing as lobbyists for a United States business consortium, in which he apparently offered a "guarantee" to vote for the US bid in the 2018 event in return for cash.
British Prime Minister David Cameron (2nd L), holds a meeting with and FIFA President Sepp Blatter (2nd R), in the cabinet room of 10 Downing Street in central London, on October 13, 2010. AFP
The newspaper also said Reynald Temarii, a FIFA vice-president and president of the Oceania Football Confederation, wanted three million New Zealand dollars (1.6 million euros, 2.3 million US dollars) for a sports academy.
He allegedly boasted that supporters of two bid committees had already offered Oceania money to swing his vote.
A FIFA statement said the body had requested access to the material gleaned in the newspaper probe and would investigate the matter.
"FIFA and the FIFA Ethics Committee have closely monitored the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups and will continue to do so," a statement said.
"FIFA has already requested to receive all of the information and documents related to this matter, and is awaiting to receive this material.
"In any case, FIFA will immediately analyse the material available and only once this analysis has concluded will FIFA be able to decide on any potential next steps.
"In the meantime, FIFA is not in a position to provide any further comments on this matter."
Any deals during the bidding process for a World Cup are strictly forbidden under FIFA's rules, but the Sunday Times said six senior officials, past and present, had told reporters that paying bribes offered their best chance at securing a successful bid.
The money requested by Adamu, the president of the West African Football Union, was intended to pay for four artificial football pitches in Nigeria, but he said it should be paid to him personally.
"Certainly if you are to invest that, that means you also want the vote," he is reported as saying, adding that the payments should be in two stages, half now and half after the vote on the World Cup host country on December 2.
The United States this week withdrew from the 2018 contest, to focus its energy on its bid to win the 2022 event. There is no suggestion of impropriety on the part of their bid committee.
The Sunday Times reported that Adamu said he had already agreed with someone else to back a rival bid in the 2022 contest, which is also voted on on December 2, but agreed that the United States would be his second preference.
England is one of the front-runners to host the 2018 World Cup but is up against strong competition from Russia, Spain-Portugal and Netherlands-Belgium.
The paper said the bid committees had denied any wrongdoing, and FIFA was looking into its claims.