FIFA tries to untangle World Cup voting

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ZURICH - FIFA's executive committee begins a two-day meeting on Thursday with the task of reducing the confusion surrounding a World Cup bidding process being played out against the backdrop of a corruption scandal.

FIFA's executive committee is due to choose the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Zurich on December 2 but, with barely more than one month to go, the voting process has not been announced and it is not clear how many voters there will be.

The bidders - Russia, England, Spain/Portugal and Belgium/Netherlands for 2018 and Japan, South Korea, Australia, United States and Qatar for 2022 - say they are carrying on regardless of the troubles.

"Actually, it hasn't had any effect," Alexei Sorokin, the Russian bid's chief executive officer, told the International Football Arena conference in Zurich.

"We're doing as we did before. Today, we don't know the number of executive committee members who will vote. Other than that, we don't see any impact. We are still concentrating on presenting our case."

Last week, FIFA provisionally suspended two members of the executive committee - Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti - over allegations they offered to sell their votes to undercover newspaper reporters from the Sunday Times.

FIFA's ethics committee is due to make a definitive decision on the pair by mid November. It could extend the suspensions, meaning that there will be only 22 or 23 voters at the Dec. 2 election.

FIFA are also investigating claims of collusion and vote-swapping between unnamed bidders for the 2018 and 2022 bids, which is banned by the rules. The ultimate penalty for this is disqualification.

This week, the Swiss parliament's legal committee said it was considering an amendment to the country's anti-corruption laws, which do not currently cover officials from the international sports organisations based in the country.

FIFA are due to hold a media conference after the meeting on Friday to announce the committee's decisions.