Six suspended on shameful day for FIFA
One of FIFA's most senior figures has become the first official from the organisation ever to be banned for bribery after six officials were punished following a corruption scandal.
Nigeria's Amos Adamu received a three-year ban and 10,000 Swiss franc (€7,422) fine from FIFA's ethics committee today after being found guilty of breaching bribery rules.
His fellow executive committee Reynald Temarii was suspended for a year and fined 5,000 Swiss francs (€3,711) for breaching rules on loyalty and confidentiality.
The bans follow a Sunday Times expose which alleged the officials had asked for cash in return for World Cup votes.
Neither man will be able to take part in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes on December 2 - only 22 executive members will now take those decisions.
Four other FIFA officials, all former executive committee members, have also received bans of between two and four years.
Ethics committee chairman Claudio Sulser however criticised the Sunday Times as "sensationalist" - despite basing the investigation on the paper's revelations and imposing punishments which surprised many observers with their severity.
He told a news conference in Zurich: "What I cannot tolerate is the fact that they changed the sentences, they changed the way they presented the truth.
"If footage is taken out of context that's twisting the facts.
"They showed footage that lasted four minutes, we have looked at audio and video footage of several hours."
Adamu and Temarii's absence from the executive committee may not aid England's campaign for 2018 as the bid had hoped they had sealed their votes, while Sulser's remarks will not help either.
Furthermore, the ethics committee will take no action regarding allegations that England's 2018 rivals Spain/Portugal have agreed a vote-swapping deal with 2022 bidders Qatar.
Sulser said no evidence had been found of the collusion claims but confirmed that Spain's executive committee member Angel Villar Llona and Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam and only been contacted by letter and not interviewed in person.
Sulser said: "We didn't find sufficient grounds to reach the conclusion that there was any collusion, therefore we didn't move forward on that case.
"It's hard to prove collusion. Although doubts may arise about objectivity if we can't establish anything, it's clear we cannot say an offence has been committed."
Sulser admitted that the scandal had caused "great damage" to FIFA's image.
FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said the sanctions stood as a warning to anyone tempted to break the rules, but admitted that he could not guarantee the World Cup bidding process is free of collusion.
Valcke said: "Am I sure that 2018 and 2022 are free of any collusion? I can't answer this question - I don't vote and I have no idea what the discussions are between various members.
"As the FIFA president (Sepp Blatter) said before, having two World Cup being bid for at same time opened the door to such conversations between executive committee members - particularly as you have eight bids involved who have executive members in the room.
"I hope that what's happened here in the last three days shows people should be careful of entering into any situation which is forbidden."
Adamu has insisted he will appeal but this will not be heard before the December 2 vote.
He said in a statement released to Press Association Sport: "I am profoundly disappointed with the ethics committee's findings and had honestly believed I would be exonerated of any charges by now.
"I completely refute the decision they have made. I will be lodging a full appeal against it with immediate effect."
The other officials sanctioned were Ismael Bhamjee of Botswana, who was handed a four-year ban, Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi of Tonga who were suspended for three years and Tunisian official Slim Aloulou for two. All four were also fined 10,000 Swiss francs.