- Associated Press - Sunday, May 29, 2011

ZURICH (AP) - FIFA suspended Mohamed bin Hammam and Jack Warner on Sunday amid allegations the two executive committee members bribed voters in the presidential election campaign. The ethics committee also cleared FIFA president Sepp Blatter of ignoring the alleged bribes.

The decisions pave the way for Blatter to be re-elected unopposed to a fourth term Wednesday.

Soccer’s governing body said bin Hammam, a Qatari who leads Asia’s soccer confederation, and Warner, a FIFA vice president from Trinidad, will now face a full FIFA inquiry. If found guilty, they could be expelled from FIFA and banned from all soccer activity.

Bin Hammam announced his withdrawal as a candidate earlier Sunday.

The ethics commission said there was sufficient evidence to further investigate allegations that bin Hammam and Warner offered $40,000 bribes to delegates at a Caribbean soccer association meeting May 10-11 in Trinidad.

The payments were allegedly made to secure votes for bin Hammam in his campaign to unseat Blatter as the head of FIFA. The evidence was submitted to the governing body by American executive committee member Chuck Blazer.

“We are satisfied that there is a case to be answered,” Petrus Damaseb, deputy chairman of the ethics committee, said at a news conference.

Bin Hammam, who denied any wrongdoing, had asked the ethics panel to investigate Blatter on grounds that he knew of alleged bribe attempts and did nothing about it. But the FIFA panel said there was no evidence to take action.

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