Blatter orders FIFA to probe vote-selling claims

LONDON, (Reuters) – FIFA president Sepp Blatter  appealed to his executive committee members to stay silent as he  launched an immediate investigation into alleged vote-selling  ahead of the decision on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts.

Blatter took the unusual step of issuing an open letter to  members of the executive committee on Sunday, telling them a  report in Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper had created a “very  negative impact” on soccer’s governing body.

The report said Nigeria’s Amos Adamu had been filmed asking  for money for a personal project and that Oceania Football  Confederation president Reynald Temarii from Tahiti wanted money  for a sports academy.

FIFA is due to announce on Dec. 2 in Zurich which countries  will host the two World Cups with the 24-strong executive  committee deciding both venues on a majority vote.

“I am sorry to have to inform you of a very unpleasant  situation which has developed in relation to an article  published today in the Sunday Times, entitled ‘World Cup votes  for sale’,” Blatter wrote at www.fifa.com.

“The information in the article has created a very negative  impact on FIFA and on the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022  World Cups.”

He added: “I will keep you duly informed of any further  developments. In the meantime, I would like to ask you to  refrain from making any public comments on this matter.”

That request came after Chuck Blazer, the United States  representative on the executive committee, told Reuters that the  decision on hosts for the next two World Cups was unlikely to be  delayed.

“The Ethics Committee will address these issues directly and  it should not take them very long to ascertain all the facts,”  Blazer, speaking in a telephone interview from New York, told  Reuters.

“The date of December 2 was chosen specifically ahead of the  ‘political season’ of congresses and elections, and I see no  reason why this would be delayed.”

The investigation comes after the Sunday Times said its  reporters, working undercover, posed as lobbyists for a  consortium of American private companies.

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