The whistleblower at the centre of World Cup bid bribery allegations has agreed to come to FIFA to give evidence in person, Sepp Blatter said today.
The person, who had worked for the Qatar 2022 bid organisation, alleged that FIFA members Issa Hayatou and Jacques Anouma were paid 1.5million US dollars each to vote for the Middle East state’s World Cup bid, according to evidence given to a Parliamentary committee by the Sunday Times. The pair deny the claims.
Now Blatter, the FIFA president, has said that the newspaper has agreed to bring the whistleblower to Zurich to testify in person.
Speaking in an interview with reporters at FIFA headquarters, Blatter said: “We are anxiously awaiting for these evidences or non-evidences in order that we can take the adequate steps.
“The newspaper has agreed that we will bring this whistleblower here to Zurich and then we will have an investigation of this.”
The interview will be conducted by FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke and legal director Marco Villiger.
Blatter said he was also keen for the independent investigation commissioned by the FA into other claims made by ex-chairman Lord Triesman to provide their findings as soon as possible – FIFA’s Congress opens in 11 days.
Triesman alleged impropriety by four other FIFA members – Trinidad’s Jack Warner, Thailand’s Worawi Makudi, Brazil’s Ricardo Teixeira and Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz – while he was head of England’s 2018 World Cup bid, claiming in Parliament that they asked for cash or favours.
Blatter added: “We have to see evidence and then we will intervene. We have received the declarations made in the House of Commons but we have not received any evidence.
“The whole procedure cannot be done in 11 days but before 11 days we must know whether the allegations are true or not true – or unproven. If they are not true this case is over.
“The ethics committee is already alerted and alarmed – they are not just lying on the beach – and the members will come for the Congress and can convene at very short notice.”
Blatter refused to be drawn on whether FIFA would organise a re-vote of the 2022 World Cup bid if the allegations are proven.
He added: “This is an idea circulating already around the world which is alarming. Don’t ask me yes or no, let us go step by step.”
The corruption claims have overshadowed the FIFA presidential election on June 1 where Blatter is standing against Asian confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam, who is from Qatar and played the key role in securing the 2022 tournament for his country.
Blatter has now received backing from all the continental confederations bar Asia – though this does not mean all the individual associations will follow suit.
Warner, the CONCACAF president, emailed Blatter this week giving the support of the organisation that covers football in north and central America and the Caribbean.
“I have just received an email from Mr Warner saying CONCACAF will always be your home ground,” said Blatter.