Amos Adamu in Bribe Scandal
FIFA Executive member, Amos Adamu, is engaged in a desperate bid to clear his name.
Adamu was at the weekend alleged to have demanded a ¬£500,000 bribe from Times of London reporters who posed as lobbyists for a consortium of private American companies who wanted to help secure the World Cup for the United States. The United States eventually pulled out of the bidding race last Friday.
Reynald Temarii, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, is also alleged by the paper to have demanded payment to finance a sports academy.
In a video recorded by the reporters, Adamu, who told the reporters what he was doing was in the interest of Nigerian football, said in response to the question whether his being given money for a ‚Äúprivate project‚ÄĚ would influence his voting, responded: ‚ÄúObviously, it will have an effect. Of course it will. Because certainly if you are to invest in that, that means you also want the vote.‚ÄĚ
Against the rules
The allegation against Adamu, who was head of COJA, the organising committee of the 2003 All Africa Games hosted by Nigeria, is grave, given that asking for money or gifts in exchange for votes in a World Cup bid is against FIFA rules.
Chapter 11 of the world football governing body‚Äôs rules of conduct expressly forbids: ‚ÄúAny kind of advantage that could give even the impression of exerting influence, or conflict of interest, either directly, in connection with the bidding process, such as that at the beginning of a collaboration, whether with private persons, a company or any authorities except for occasional gifts that are generally regarded as symbolic or incidental value and that exclude any influence on a decision in relation to the bidding process; and any benefit, opportunity, promise, remuneration or service to any such individuals, in connection with the bidding process.‚ÄĚ
The former National Sports Commission (NSC) Director General is currently in Zurich trying to clear himself. FIFA, which described the development as unfortunate, has launched an investigation into the matter. It is believed Adamu‚Äôs presence in Zurich at this time is at the instance of FIFA President, Sepp Blatter, who is eager to get to the bottom of the matter in order to remove an impression that FIFA is a body inured to scandals.
The FIFA boss has promised a full investigation of the allegations against Adamu and Temarii. In a letter sent yesterday to all members of FIFA‚Äôs execution committee, Blatter said: ‚ÄúI am sorry to have to inform you of a very unpleasant situation, which has developed in relation to an article, published today in The Sunday Times, titled ‚ÄėWorld Cup votes for sale‚Äô. The information in the article has created a very negative impact on Fifa and on the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cups.
‚ÄúSome current and former members of the executive committee are mentioned in the article. Fifa will... open an in-depth investigation, which we will start immediately together with the Fifa ethics committee and the Fifa secretary general. I will keep you duly informed of any further developments.‚ÄĚ
The allegations against Adamu have elicited mixed reactions here in Nigeria where he has continued to exert a huge influence in the Nigerian sports establishment, despite being fired as Director General of the NSC in 2008.
It is a measure of his influence that some officials who spoke to this reporter on the allegations against him were not willing to go on record for fear of reprisal at a later date.
When contacted, the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was guarded in its response. Robinson Okosun, the federation‚Äôs spokesman, said the NFF was still watching developments:
‚ÄúWe have not received any formal notice of the allegations either from FIFA or any source. At any rate, they remain mere allegations.‚ÄĚ The FA‚Äôs position finds support in Harrison Jalla. Jalla, President of the National Association of Nigerian Footballers, the body which went to court and got an injunction ordering the NFF not to go ahead with the August 26 elections, says it would be wrong to rush to conclusions at this stage:
‚ÄúThe law says an individual is innocent until he is proved guilty by a competent court of law. Disturbing as the allegations are, they have not been established to be facts yet. So, let‚Äôs give him an opportunity to defend himself,‚ÄĚ Jalla said.
Jalla is due to meet with Adamu on Wednesday to finalise agreements reached last week on how the lingering crisis in Nigerian football, precipitated by the NFF‚Äôs flouting of a court order not to hold elections, can be resolved.