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Three FIFA officials took bribes: BBC

sports Updated: Nov 30, 2010 11:02 IST
IANS
London

Three FIFA officials who later this week will vote on which countries stage the World Cup in 2018 and 2022 took bribes in the 1990s, a BBC television programme claimed on Monday.

According to an investigation by Panorama, the officials - Nicolas Leoz of Paraguay, Issa Hayatou who represents African nations and Ricardo Teixeira of Brazil - took money from ISL, the now-defunct sports marketing firm that was responsible for awarding World Cup broadcasting rights.

With England among the countries hoping to host the 2018 World Cup when the vote is held in Zurich on Thursday, the country's bid organisers have questioned the timing of the programme, fearing that it could have an adverse effect on its hopes of staging the tournament.

According to the Panorama programme, the alleged bribes totalling a little over $10 million were all paid to the three officials between 1989 and 1999.

Paraguayan Leoz, the head of South America's football confederation, is alleged to have received more than $600,000 (about 384,000 pounds, at current rates), in three instalments.

Teixeira, the head of the Brazilian Football Confederation and the man in charge of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, is alleged to have received total payments of $9.5 million(around 6 million pounds), through a "front company" in Liechtenstein called Sanud.

Hayatou, the FIFA vice-president who represents African nations, is alleged to have received $20,000 (about 12,900 pounds).

Panorama also claimed that a fourth FIFA official, Jack Warner from Trinidad and Tobago and a FIFA vice-president, was involved in buying up $84,000 worth of tickets for the 2010 World Cup.

The programme said that the tickets were destined to be sold by touts on the black market, but collapsed because the touts would not accept the price.

Four years earlier, Panorama said, Warner had sold tickets on the black market for the 2006 World Cup. FIFA later ordered Warner's family business to make a $1-million donation to charity to "compensate for the profits it had made through resale of 2006 Fifa World Cup tickets".

The four officials are due to be among the 22 who will vote on Thursday to decide which countries stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

The number of FIFA officials should have been 24 but in October, two of them - Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii - were banned after English newspaper Sunday Times accused them of being willing to sell their votes for the 2018 and 2022 events.