Football’s world governing body Fifa has widened its probe into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Proceedings have already been opened against two executive committee members as part of a probe into votes allegedly being sold to stage the 2018 World Cup.

And investigations are also ongoing in relation to other Fifa officials who may have been involved.

But Fifa is also to probe any “alleged agreements between member associations” bidding for the 2018 and 2022 events.

England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium are all bidding for the right to host the 2018 World Cup and will find out who has won on 2 December.

The hosts of the 2022 World Cup will also be decided on the same day, with the United States, Australia, Qatar, Japan and South Korea all in the hunt.

The decision will be made by Fifa’s 24-strong executive committee.
“An investigation has also been opened into the member associations in question as well as their Bid Committees,” said Fifa in statement, which is concerned that any agreement between member associations would be “clear violation of the bid registration document”.

The statement added: “Fifa has again asked the chairman of the Ethics Committee to act without delay to take all possible steps, including the possibility of provisional measures, should the relevant conditions be met.”

Monday’s development follows an English newspaper accusation that Nigerian Amos Adamu and Tahitian Reynald Temarii, who is the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) president, allegedly asked for payments for votes.

Adamu and Temarii were secretly filmed by reporters from the Sunday Times, who posed as lobbyists for a consortium of American companies that wanted to bring the tournament to the United States.

Adamu, who serves as a Fifa committee member, allegedly said he wanted $800,000 (£500,000) to build four artificial football pitches. This would be against Fifa’s rules.

The Sunday Times footage appears to show Adamu asking for money to be paid to him directly for endorsing a US bid.

Temarii is also alleged to have asked for a payment, in his case to finance a sports academy.

The OFC said it was investigating the reports.

“Further to information made public by the Sunday Times, the OFC president and Fifa vice-president Reynald Temarii will cooperate fully with the Fifa Ethics Committee and the Fifa secretary general,” a statement released on Sunday said.

“Reynald Temarii welcomes a full and thorough investigation so that all the facts can be heard.”

Fifa president Sepp Blatter said at the weekend that the affair had had a “very negative impact” on football’s world governing body.

“The Sunday Times allegations could not have been more stark and more uncomfortable,” said BBC sports news correspondent Tim Franks.

Franks added that the regulations governing the World Cup bidding process are not as rigorous as they could be.

“The competition among countries is lengthy, complex, and – so far – not governed by the sort of strict rules that for the last decade have surrounded the bids to stage the Olympic Games,” he added.

“Earlier this month, a very senior official at Fifa told the BBC he had concerns that England’s competitors to stage the 2018 World Cup were not playing as straight as England… and that several members of the executive committee might be open to blandishments.”

Credit: BBC

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