Football’s world governing body FIFA is to investigate claims that two of its executive committee members had offered to sell their votes in the contest to host the 2018 World Cup.
A British newspaper said Nigeria’a Amos Adamu and Oceania Football Confederation president Reynald Temarii from Tahiti had made offers to its undercover reporters.
It is a massive blow and embarrassment to FIFA and President Sepp Blatter who only last week met British Prime Minister David Cameron, telling him that the bidding race was still wide open.
After the US pulled out on Friday, England are competing for the right to host the finals with Russia and joint bids from Spain and Portugal and Belgium and the Netherlands.
The newspaper report said Adamu was filmed asking for money that he claimed would be used to build football pitches in Nigeria and that Temarii wanted money in order to build a sports academy.
Whatever the reasons, it would be a complete breach of FIFA rules.
FIFA said in a statement that it has “already requested to receive all of the information and documents related to this matter” adding “once an analysis of the material has been concluded, FIFA will be able to decide on any potential next steps.”
Some 24 FIFA officals will choose the winning bid on December 2. But that could now be pushed back as FIFA begins an investigation into claims that two of its members have offered to sell their votes.