Blatter cleared, top FIFA officials suspended
Updated: 2011-05-30 09:27
FIFA President Sepp Blatter addresses a news conference at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich in this May 9, 2011 file photograph. [Photo/Agencies]
* Blatter to stand unopposed for fourth term
ZURICH - FIFA's ethics committee cleared president Sepp Blatter of any wrongdoing as two of soccer's most senior officials were suspended on Sunday in the worst corruption scandal to blight the sport's governing body.
Qatari Mohamed bin Hammam, who hours earlier had ended his campaign to unseat Blatter, was temporarily suspended along with Jack Warner, president of the CONCACAF region covering north and central America and the Caribbean.
Blatter was cleared of any breach of FIFA's statutes following an emergency sitting of the independent committee, freeing him to stand unopposed for a fourth term in charge of FIFA in Wednesday's election.
Bin Hammam and Warner were accused of arranging to pay delegates of the Caribbean Football Union $40,000 in cash to vote for Blatter's only rival.
Both men are long-standing members of FIFA's all-powerful 24-man executive committee, 10 of whom have been subject to allegations of corruption in the last year.
Bin Hammam, head of the Asian Football Confederation, and Warner, a government minister in his native Trinidad & Tobago, are now temporarily suspended from any soccer-related activity.
Both will be absent from the Congress where Blatter can expect to be re-elected to the post he has held since 1998.
The case against Warner and Bin Hammam, who have denied any wrongdoing, will be heard in July, according to Namibian judge Petrus Damaseb who chaired Sunday's meeting.
FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke, who faced tough questioning during a feisty hour-long news conference, said the election would go ahead unless three-quarters of the 208 delegates voted to change the agenda.
"I am not FIFA, I can't change the agenda," Valcke said. "It is up to the delegates - they have the final say."
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