Blatter: My conscience is clear

Blatter: My conscience is clear

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said his own conscience is clear after new allegatsions of bribery rocked the organisation today.

FIFA promised to address the latest allegations and Blatter, rocked by arguably the biggest scandal of all less than three weeks before running for president for the fourth time, told reporters in Zurich his own conscience was clear.

“I can’t answer for members of my committee,” he said. “I can’t say if they are all angels or devils but I am not in the category that has to go to any tribunal or ethics committee. My conscience is clear.”

The allegations – including of World Cup bid bribes – were made about six members of the organisation’s executive committee.

Two members, FIFA vice-president Issa Hayatou from Cameroon and Jacques Anouma from the Ivory Coast were paid $1.5m (€1m) by Qatar, according to claims highlighted by British MPs at the culture, media and sport committee in the House of Commons.

In an astonishing morning of whistle-blowing at the inquiry, claims of “improper and unethical” behaviour by four other executive committee (ExCo) members were made by former FA and England 2018 bid chairman Lord Triesman.

The British FA's chief operations officer Alex Horne, in Zurich for the FIFA 2014 Task Force hearing, said the FA would be asking the select committee for all the evidence they had “and get it sent to the FIFA ethics committee”.

Horne said it was “too early to say” whether the FA would be calling for the ballot in December to be retaken.

The latest allegations may help neither Blatter nor his rival for FIFA president Mohamed Bin Hammam in the election on June 1.

Both candidates have spoken about cleaning up the image of FIFA but while Blatter must take some responsibility for the World Cup bid process, Bin Hammam was a driving force behind the Qatar bid.

Of all the nine countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, Qatar is the only one subject to direct allegations that bribes were paid to secure FIFA members’ votes, although there is no suggestion Bin Hammam was involved in any wrongdoing.

Asked whether the Prime Minister would like an inquiry into Lord Triesman’s claims, David Cameron’s official spokesman told a media briefing at Westminster: “There is an investigation into these allegations. Sepp Blatter has said that these claims are being investigated and they will take action if there is evidence of wrong-doing.

“That is something we welcome.”

The spokesman added: “The important thing is that the public and people who watch football have confidence in the system.

“Therefore when there are allegations it is right that these allegations are investigated.

“Ultimately, (FIFA) are the world governing body of football and it is for them, if need be, to do the things that they need to do to put their house in order. Clearly they need to reassure the sporting public and fans that there is no suggestion of corruption or any problems with competition for these kinds of major sporting events.”

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