FIFA suspends 2 officials from World Cup voting

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ZURICH (AP) - FIFA suspended two executive committee members from voting for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts on Thursday after completing a corruption investigation.

Soccer’s governing body also cleared Qatar and Spain-Portugal of vote-trading.

FIFA’s ethics panel banned Nigeria’s Amos Adamu from all soccer activity for three years for agreeing to take bribes from undercover reporters from the British Sunday Times who posed as lobbyists trying to buy votes.

Reynald Temarii of Tahiti, the president of Oceania’s confederation, was suspended for one year for breaching FIFA’s loyalty and confidentiality rules when he was secretly filmed in the undercover sting.

Four former FIFA executive committee members also were suspended based on allegations published by the newspaper.

“It is sad,” FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said. “It was not necessary what has happened. The way FIFA and the ethics committee has reacted shows how important it is to show things are under control.”

The paper had video showing Adamu requesting $800,000 to build four artificial soccer fields in Nigeria, and for the money to be paid to him directly.

Temarii was filmed appearing to ask for $2.3 million to fund a soccer academy in Auckland, New Zealand.

With Adamu and Temarii suspended, 22 FIFA ruling committee members _ instead of 24 _ will vote in the World Cup secret ballots on Dec. 2 in Zurich.

The 2018 bid involves England, Russia and the joint bids of Belgium-Holland and Spain-Portugal. The 2022 contest involves the United States, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Qatar.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said there was not enough time for appeals by Adamu and Temarii to overturn the ethics verdicts before the vote.

“There will only be 22 members for the vote,” Valcke said at a news conference.

Adamu said he was “profoundly disappointed” and would launch an appeal when FIFA provides reasons for the ruling.

“I am innocent of all the charges leveled against me by the ethics committee and I completely refute the decision they have made,” Adamu said in a statement.

Temarii’s lawyer, Geraldine Lesieur, said he had mixed emotions about the outcome, because “the most important thing for him was to be cleared of the corruption” allegations.

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