AFR: FIFA bans six officals for ethics breaches but leaves one notorious man in place

A Football Report: Soraya Soemadiredja, Manila

FIFA’s Ethics Committee banned six football officials from football for breaching various articles of the organisation’s Code of Ethics but it remains to be seen just how much this action will affect the day to day practises of FIFA, one of the most notoriously unaccountable and the least transparent of international institutions.

The Ethics Committee actions came out of hearings following allegations by undercover England’s Sunday Times newspaper reporters who caught two FIFA Executive Committee members on tape to agreeing to swing the votes in favour of the USA’s bid. In October, when the hearings first began, the two members they were “temporarily expelled”.

Amos Adamu, who has repeatedly expressed his innocence, who was found breaching five articles in the Code of Conduct, including bribery, was banned from any football-related activities for three years and fined 10000 CHF. Reynald Temarii, the other man involved in the Sunday Times bribery scandal, was banned for a year and fined 5000 CHF for breaching articles on general conduct and loyalty.

Of the other four officials banned and expelled from the upper echelons of world football’s global hierarchy, one of them was the infamous Ismail Bhamjee. Four years ago, Bhamjee had been sent home from the Germany and resigned his Executive Committee position after it was revealed that he had sold World Cup match tickets up to three times their face value. Another was Slim Aloulou who was Chairman of the Dispute Resolution Committee, banned for two years and fined 10000 CHF for violating general conduct rules and failing to report evidence of misconduct. Bhamjee and the other three, Ahongalu Fusimalohi, the Tonga FA general secretary, Amadou Diakite, the Malian member of the Referee’s Committee and Bhamjee, honourary CAF member, were also found guilty of the same offences as Aloulou as well as bribery. Fusimalohi and Diakite were banned for three years and Bhamjee for four, and all were fined 10000 CHF.

Jérôme Valcke, Secretary General of FIFA, has stated that this move by the Committee, headed by former footballer Claudio Susler, has proven the “legitimacy” to the management the organisation and within the bidding process. Susler has stated that, “we will have a zero tolerance policy for all violations of standards…We don’t want cheaters, we don’t want doping, we don’t want abuses to be accepted.” Meanwhile, Sepp Blatter has promised to rid FIFA of the “devils” away from football, and has accused the Sunday Times of being “sensationalist” and “twisting facts”.

But despite this rhetoric, one of the most powerful men on the FIFA Executive Committee is Jack Warner, a close friend of Blatter, who was also involved in a much larger World Cup ticket selling scandal at the same time as Bhamjee, netting himself and his son millions. In 2006, the Ethics Committee accused Warner of breaches of the code of conduct and the Executive Committee did not suspend him despite having ruled him guilty of clear conflict of interest.

Adamu has repeatedly denied the allegations surrounding his conduct and has expressed disappointment that the Ethics Committee had ruled against him, and is set to make an appeal against the decision. The Nigerian government is fully backing Adamu in his appeal, stating that they believe he was not given a fair trial.

The Ethics Committee also cleared Qatar 2022 and the Spain/Portugal 2018 bidding groups of suspicions of collusion, as they could not find any evidence on these grounds. Several bidding nations have representation on the Executive Committee who will vote for the host nations.

The appointment to host both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be decided next month following voting which is reserved for the Executive Committee members. Because of these bans, there will be twenty-two people casting their votes, instead of the usual twenty-four.

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