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FIFA to elect World Cup hosts in December despite corruption probes

Despite recent corruption allegations, FIFA's schedule for electing the World Cup hosts for 2018 and 2022 will not change. The secret ballot will take place on December 2. Two members remain provisionally suspended.

Soccer ball

FIFA elects the 2018 and 2022 hosts on December 2

The election of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts will go ahead as planned despite an ongoing corruption probe, FIFA President Joseph Blatter said on Friday.

Blatter made the announcement after a two-day meeting of the FIFA executive committee. The secret ballot will take place on December 2 at FIFA's headquarters in Zurich.

"We are five weeks from the final decision so there was never a question of changing anything in the procedure," Blatter said. "Changing the date would have caused problems for FIFA and bidders as well since they plan to bring in high-ranked politicians like Bill Clinton and Vladimir Putin."

Executive committee members suspended

Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii

Adamu, left, and Temarii are accussed of selling their votes

Last week, FIFA provisionally suspended two of the 24 members of the executive committee, Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii of Tahiti. There have been allegations that they offered to sell their votes to undercover reporters from the British Sunday Times newspaper.

Blatter said that the FIFA ethics committee will deal with their cases before the election of the host countries takes place.

"If and when people are suspended for the vote on December 2, they will not be replaced," he said.

Alleged deal between Spain, Portugal and Qatar

The joint 2018 bidders, Spain and Portugal, are said to have struck a deal with Qatar, a 2022 candidate, for the interchange of votes. The chief of the joint Spanish-Portugal bid, Miguel Angel Lopez, denied the allegations of collusion with Qatar.

Blatter said FIFA was investigating those allegations as well and said this issue would also be dealt with by the ethics committee.

"Let us do our job. And let us clarify the situation. And let us do what the people and the fans, the millions, hundred of millions, thousands of millions of fans are expecting: Bring back credibility in FIFA," he said.

Aside from Spain and Portugal, the other countries in the running to host the 2018 World Cup are England, Russia and the Netherlands with Belgium. For the 2022 tournament Australia, the United States, Qatar, Japan and South Korea are competing.

Blatter acknowledged that the recent incidents showed that it was wrong to elect two World Cup hosts on one day. This is the first time such a vote will take place after a decision made by FIFA in 2008.

The scandal is no surprise, experts say

Jean-Paul Mean, president of Transparency International Switzerland, said the FIFA scandal should not come as a surprise.

Joseph Blatter

Blatter called on FIFA to 'bring back credibility'

"We have seen it with the International Olympic Committee 10 years ago that there were some strange practices," he said. "There is just a flair around sport associations that their governance is not the best yet." If there is money around, "corruption shows its ugly head," he added.

According to Mean, there is not enough control of international sports organizations since they are not subject to Swiss anti-corruption law.

However, according to Blatter, FIFA will resolve its problems through its ethics committee.

"It's an uncomfortable situation for FIFA, but we have the necessary instruments to react the proper way," he said.

Authors: Imogen Foulkes (ss)
Editor: Andrew Bowen

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