News 20th May 2015

AFC suspends Soosay over allegations he hid documents from FIFA

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has suspended General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay, after video evidence emerged showing an AFC official claiming Soosay asked him to hide documents during a 2012 FIFA investigation. ‘A video statement conducted as part of a FIFA investigation was passed to media recently and the AFC has now been able to verify its authenticity’, read an AFC statement. ‘AFC Deputy General Secretary, Dato’ Windsor John, will take over the role on an ad interim basis whilst an internal investigation is conducted’.

It is understood that the video footage is from FIFA’s 2012 investigation into Mohammed bin Hammam. While FIFA has sanctioned bin Hammam for making illegal payments during his 2011 FIFA Presidential campaign, it has never found bin Hammam guilty of making any payments in relation to the voting procedure to appoint the host of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. In November 2014, the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee “did not find any violations or breaches of the relevant rules and regulations”, clearing all parties of breaching any rules in relation to the bidding process for both tournaments.

FIFA banned bin Hammam for life on 17 December 2012, citing ‘repeated violations of Article 19 (Conflict of Interest) of the FIFA Code of Ethics, edition 2012’. The ban was in relation to ‘several improper payments to high-ranking CAF football officials during the time before the December 2, 2010, FIFA Executive Committee vote’, FIFA revealed in its 42-page summary of the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee’s report into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. ‘The evidence before the Investigatory Chamber strongly suggests that Mr. Bin Hammam paid CAF officials to influence their votes in the 2011 election for FIFA President, where he was a candidate’.

In 2010, during a Sunday Times investigation, Reynald Temarii, General Director of the Tahiti football association and fellow Executive Committee member Amos Adamu (Nigeria) were filmed accepting offers of money in in exchange for their vote for the host country of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The two Executive Committee members were banned along with four other officials – Slim Aloulou (Tunisia), Amadou Diakité (Mali), Ahongalu Fusimalohi (Oceania Football Confederation) and Ismael Bhamjee (Botswana) – on 17 November 2010. This meant that neither Temarii nor Adamu could take part in the Executive Committee’s December 2010 vote to award the tournaments to Russia (pictured) and Qatar. FIFA recently banned Temarii for eight years for accepting money from bin Hammam to cover the costs of his appeal against this 2010 ban.

In June 2014, the Sunday Times published leaked email documents which appeared to prove that bin Hammam had paid members of other football associations ahead of his FIFA Presidential campaign and the final December 2010 FIFA Executive Committee vote to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups. In November 2014, FIFA banned former General Secretary of the All-India Football Federation (AIFF), Alberto Colaco, for three years for accepting an illegal payment. ‘Mr Colaco accepted a payment in the context of the elections for the FIFA Executive Committee at the AFC Congress in May 2009 – won narrowly by Mohamed bin Hammam – while he was serving as the General Secretary and voting delegate of the AIFF’, read a 27 November FIFA media release.

The independent Ethics Committee was formed by FIFA in 2012, along with a new Code of Ethics, after FIFA in 2010 pledged to investigate allegations of corruption during the bidding process to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Article 36 of the Code of Ethics mandates that all investigations are conducted in complete confidentiality. It is this Code of Ethics that prevents FIFA from publishing the full report of the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee into the bidding process for both tournaments. The independent Ethics Committee is funded by FIFA.

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