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Saturday 17 March 2018

Two FIFA executives suspended in probe on bribery

Sepp Blatter: will go into election as only candidate. Photo: Getty Images
Sepp Blatter: will go into election as only candidate. Photo: Getty Images

Ella Pickover in Zurich

Fifa has suspended executive committee members Moha-med Bin Hammam and Jack Warner from all football- related activity after an ethics committee for the sport's governing body said it would launch a "full inquiry" into bribery allegations.

Fifa pledged to look into claims that the pair offered financial incentives to members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).

Both men denied the allegations.

Fifa also announced "no investigation is warranted" against president Sepp Blatter and that the election for the next president will go ahead as planned on Wednesday -- with Blatter as the only candidate.

The announcement came hours after Mr Bin Hammam withdrew from the presidential election.

Mr Bin Hammam, from Qatar, and Mr Warner, from Trinidad and Tobago, are accused of handing over bundles of cash, each of $40,000 (€28,000), to Caribbean football officials in Trinidad earlier this month.

The payments were allegedly made to secure votes for Mr Bin Hammam in his election campaign.

Mr Blatter was accused by his opponent of knowing about alleged payments.

Petrus Damaseb, the Namibian judge presiding over the ethics committee, told a press conference in Zurich: "Mr Bin Hammam is hereby provisionally banned from taking part in any football-related activity until Fifa's ethics committee takes a decision on this matter, and the same decision for Mr Jack Warner."

Two officials from the CFU, Debbie Minguell and Jason Sylvester, who were alleged to have handed over the money have also been suspended pending a full inquiry.

Fifa also announced that the English Football Association has cleared Fifa members Ricardo Teixeira and Worawi Makudi of allegations of bribery made by Lord Triesman relating to England's failed 2018 World Cup bid.


Earlier, Mr Bin Hammam said the allegations were "baseless" and vowed to stick by Mr Warner "through thick and thin".

"I made the decision to run for the Fifa presidency because I was and remain committed to change within Fifa.

"But I cannot allow the name that I loved to be dragged more and more in the mud. It is for this reason that I announce my withdrawal from the presidential election," he said.

Irish Independent

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