Africa

Nigerian Fifa official denies vote selling claims

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Media captionAmos Adamu told the BBC's Farayi Mungazi that he welcomed the Fifa investigation into the claims

A Nigerian Fifa official has told the BBC he is not guilty of allegations that he offered to sell his vote in the contest to host the 2018 World Cup.

Amos Adamu told Farayi Mungazi of the BBC African Service that he welcomed the Fifa investigation into the claims.

Reporters from the Sunday Times posed as lobbyists for a consortium of US firms who wanted to bring the tournament to the United States.

Mr Adamu allegedly said he wanted cash to build pitches in Nigeria.

Tahiti's Reynald Temarii, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, is also alleged to have asked for a payment, in his case to finance a sports academy. He denies the claim, suggesting that his comments on the Sunday Times video had been taken out of context.

Mr Adamu and Mr Temarii, both members of Fifa's 24-man executive committee, were suspended by the organisation for 30 days on Wednesday.

Fifa is the international governing body of association football.

"The [Fifa] ethics committee will investigate this and I am very happy about it because this will enable the whole world to know the truth of the matter," Mr Adamu told the BBC, speaking publicly on the issue for the first time.

"As far as I am concerned I am not guilty of what they are saying, but the ethics committee is a committee that is credible and Fifa is a credible organisation. I am sure that the whole truth will come out. I welcome it."

Mr Adamu, who is also president of the West African Football Union, is said to have told the undercover reporters he wanted $800,000 (£500,000) to build the four artificial football pitches in Nigeria.

A 24-strong Fifa committee will decide by secret ballot on 2 December who should host the tournament.

However, Fifa is also investigating Spain, Portugal and Qatar in connection with alleged collusion over voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, BBC Sport understands.

Spain and Portugal are making a joint 2018 bid, while Qatar is eyeing 2022.

Collusion between bidding countries is strictly forbidden by the regulations.

Others suspended

Following a meeting of the ethics committee on Wednesday, four other Fifa officials - Tunisia's Slim Aloulou, Mali's Amadou Diakite, Botswana's Ismael Bhamjee and Tonga's Ahongalu Fusimalohi - were also provisionally suspended.

In Tunisia, the reaction has been surprise at allegations levelled against the previously respected and influential Mr Aloulou, a former Executive Committee member.

Image caption Fifa, the world governing body for football, is holding a broad inquiry into alleged breaches of bidding rules

Mr Aloulou, who presided over the Tunisian Football Federation (FTF) in the late 1970s and early 1980s, has yet to comment on the allegations.

However, some in Tunisia have questioned his involvement in the scandal.

"I know Aloulou very well and he can't do this," Abdelmajid Chetali, who led Tunisia at the 1978 World Cup under Mr Aloulou, told website Kapitalis.

"To be so fiercely attacked by certain media is unacceptable."

Mr Aloulou, a successful businessman, served on Fifa's Executive Committee from 1988 to 1994, before serving in varying commissions until his suspension.

He is also an executive committee member with the Confederation of African Football (Caf) and heads the ethics commission of the Arab football union (Uafa).

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