Fresh claims over World Cup votes scandal

A former Fifa general secretary identified officials he said could take money in return for votes in the race to host the World Cup, a British newspaper reported on Sunday, citing secret footage.

Michel Zen-Ruffinen ran through a list of the names — bleeped out on the footage and not revealed by the Sunday Times — with undercover reporters who were posing as lobbyists.

“X is nice, he’s a nice guy, but X is money,” he is shown saying of one man, adding of another: “X, it’s money, we can go to [a city] and talk with him on a terrace no problem.”

Of a third unnamed figure, he added: “He’s the guy you can have with ladies and not with money.”

The comments were captured when the journalists secretly filmed their conversation during a meal with Zen-Ruffinen in Geneva, the paper said.

The story is the latest development in a furore over alleged World Cup vote selling ahead of the announcement of the winning host countries for 2018 and 2022 on December 2.

Last week, the Sunday Times reported that two members of the Fifa executive committee, Amos Adamu of Nigeria and Reynald Temarii who represented Oceania, had offered to sell their votes in the race for the 2018 World Cup.

Fifa later provisionally suspended them pending a full investigation. Four other senior officials were also suspended provisionally from any football-related activity.

Zen-Ruffinen, a Swiss lawyer, was reportedly available for arranging approaches to officials by interested parties.

In comments quoted by the paper, he said he was “totally against” bribery and had only offered to make introductions. In the secret footage, he added: “I would never play this game but there are people who are like that.” – AFP

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