Football bribery scandal reaches the top

A question mark hangs over next week’s election of the president of football’s world governing body, Fifa, as both candidates are implicated in a corruption scandal.

This content was published on May 27, 2011 - 14:41 and agencies

The current president, Sepp Blatter, who is standing for a fourth term, has been ordered to submit a statement to Fifa’s ethics committee by Saturday in connection with allegations of bribery surrounding his rival in the election, Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar. He is due to meet the committee on Sunday.

Fifa executive committee member Chuck Blazer of the United States has claimed that Blatter knew about bribes allegedly paid to up to 25 members of the Caribbean Football Union so that they would vote for bin Hammam.

Blatter is said to have “masterminded” the scandal, in order to discredit his rival.

The Swiss has described the suggestion as “ludicrous”.

“I cannot comment on the proceedings that have been opened against me. The facts will speak for themselves,” he said in a statement released by his campaign advisers on Friday.

Accusations of bribery are nothing new in Fifa. In the run-up to the selection of the next two venues for the World Cup, the British Sunday Times newspaper made detailed allegations, which led to the suspension of some Fifa officials.

Earlier this month a British parliamentary inquiry heard further claims of vote buying. Fifa has ordered an investigation into these allegations.

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