FIFA begins probe into vote-selling claims

ZURICH - FIFA will begin an investigation on Wednesday into allegations of vote-selling by two members of its executive committee in the contest to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and that bidding nations may have colluded.

Tahitian Reynald Temarii and Nigerian Amos Adamu will be summoned as the ethics committee probes allegations they offered to sell their votes when approached by Sunday Times reporters posing as lobbyists for an American consortium.

The newspaper report said Adamu was filmed asking for 500,000 pounds for a personal project and that Oceania Football Confederation president Temarii asked an undercover reporter in Auckland for NZ$3m ($2.27 million) to fund a sports academy at the OFC's headquarters.

The committee, headed by former Switzerland international Claudio Sulser, will also investigate suspicions that bidding nations may have broken the rules by making agreements which FIFA said would constitute a "clear violation of the bid registration document and the code of ethics".

Temarii and Adamu could be suspended or kicked off the executive committee if found guilty.

World football's governing body has not said how long the investigation will take nor whether any bids could be disqualified, though a media conference will be held at 16:00 GMT when provisional measures could be announced.

The hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will be decided in Zurich on December 2, with the 24 members of the executive committee eligible to vote.

The vote-selling allegations have been hugely damaging for the whole bid process in which FIFA demands meticulous, high quality bids from candidates.

England and Russia are bidding for 2018 along with joint bids from Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium while Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Australia and the United States are the candidates for 2022.